Free courses programme offers springboard to jobseekers

Springboard+ 2016 initiative offers 10 free courses through Dublin Business School


Being unemployed for a long period of time can take its toll on a person’s confidence. Skills can become redundant which can lead to even less of a chance of an individual re-entering the jobs market.

In 2011, the government came up with the Springboard initiative to help deal with this. It provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed. Most Springboard courses are part-time, but there are some full-time courses available to certain participants, namely ICT programmes. Most of the courses last for one year or less but, more importantly, they focus on areas where there is a need for skilled employees - areas such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the green economy, pharmaceuticals, and international financial services.

Dublin Business School (DBS) is offering 10 diverse courses as part of the government’s Springboard+ 2016 initiative and the college is inviting jobseekers and those employed, to apply for positions on these free courses now.

Cliona O’Beirne, Director of Marketing & Admissions at DBS, says that the college offers courses in areas where there is significant demand in the jobs market now and in the future, therefore providing graduates with better job prospects. All programmes are accredited by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and it is envisaged that these programmes will improve future skills in the labour force.

This year, for the first time, Springboard+ is also allowing people who are in full-time employment to apply for these free courses, but places are limited and only apply to the Postgraduate Conversion ICT programmes, O’Beirne says.

O’Beirne also says “Ireland is host to major international companies in the social media, video games and software industries as well as a growing indigenous base of Irish tech companies. All of these companies require a steady stream of graduates to fill the jobs being created on a weekly basis. They need graduates with a range of ICT skills, in particular analytical thinking and programming. People with ICT skills can look forward to rewarding careers, working in cutting edge fields.”

In terms of the type of commitment the individual must give, O’Beirne says that students are looking at two evenings per week and some weekends per semester, on a part-time basis.

“The full-time programme is pretty intensive, seven months doing course work followed by three month’s work placement. We will place the student in a company with a relevant industry partner, with the hope they will be kept on upon completion of the placement” she says.

O’Beirne says DBS will also develop career plans for students around these programmes through the careers office in the college. 

“They have a programme manager who will work with them from the start. They will also have a career development plan that’s built in as part of the programme, which is important given that some of the individuals may have lost a lot of confidence over the last few years because they have been unemployed and they need to gain that confidence back.

“They might be cross skilling into a new area completely, so you might have science graduates who are now coming into an ICT course.  Or a law graduate who you are retraining in a brand new area. That also takes confidence building, so there is a lot of focus on that. We call it “Jump Start Your Career”. On the ICT programme one of the key things that was highlighted to us from employers is the fact that they need to be retrained in skills like presentation skills, communication skills and again that’s a really important focus of the programme.”

O’Beirne is urging those who are unemployed, or those who are interested in ICT, to find out  what’s on offer by visiting springboardcourses.ie.

“We will be providing any interested participants with an overview of all our courses and what’s on offer, laying out the path for them if they embark on a course with us. We will go through the success factors of the college and they will have an opportunity to talk to the academics involved in the programme. We will also run through the programme content - that can be a bit daunting but they can have one-to-one consultations with the academic staff and the admissions staff.”

She stresses that courses are in areas where skilled individuals will be needed in the jobs market in the coming years and asks jobseekers to consider what’s available to them at DBS and the fact that these courses are free - they could normally cost students up to €7,000.

O’Beirne says “it has identified where there are skills gaps in the economy and we need to be able to fill these. We need to have a steady stream of people coming in to fill the jobs, especially in ICT. There is going to be a lot of growth in this area in the next few years and the skills will be highly sought after.”

Springboard+ and ICT Skills programmes available in DBS in September 2016:

  • Springboard+ Diploma in Big Data for Business
  • Springboard+ Certificate in Risk & Financial Analysis
  • Springboard+ Certificate in Programming
  • Springboard+ Certificate in Fund Accounting
  • Springboard+ Certificate in Digital Marketing
  • Springboard+ Certificate in Business Skills
  • Higher Diploma in Science in Data Analytics (full-time and part-time)
  • Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Web & Cloud Technologies) (full-time and part-time)
  • Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Software Development) (full-time and part-time)
  • Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (IT Infrastructure & Networking) (full-time and part-time)

For more information on courses available visit springboardcourses.ie

Dublin Business School partners