Almost 17,000 new places have been made available to people seeking to up-skill or re-skill in the years ahead. 13,000 places commenced in 2020, with the additional 4,000 places added over the following 2 years.
This includes an additional 2,129 places for up-skilling and re-skilling, as a result of investment by the Government of an additional €10 m in response to the Covid-19 pandemic:
- 11,074 places on 332 courses under Springboard+ 2020
- 5,891 places on 93 courses over three years for Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1.
Places are available on courses in a wide range of skills areas, including artificial intelligence, smart factory technology, sustainable energy, medical device technology and cybersecurity.
This additional funding, combined with the new HCI Pillar 1 courses leads to 7,600 more places available over three years to those who wish to up-skill or re-skill compared with 2019.
The National Training Fund Advisory Group has considered the principles and priorities of the National Training Fund (NTF) in light of the transformed economic and labour market landscape arising from COVID-19. These priorities were confirmed by the National Skills Council. Among these principles were:
- the need for an immediate focus on providing relevant skills for those affected by the crisis underpinning their employability and access into sustainable and quality employment;
- the need for focused and agile programmes consistent with the current priorities for skills provision.
Springboard+ has already experienced successful outcomes in these areas. To enable a skills-focused response to employment issues arising from the Covid-19 crisis, €10 million has been repurposed from HCI Pillar 3 to provide extra funding for up-skilling and re-skilling courses under Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1.
Approval is being given for courses under HCI Pillar 1 to run for three academic years from 2020/21 to 2022/23. Courses are in specific areas of skills need, as identified by the Skills Identification Group as part of the HCI call development process.
- 2,039 places funded on 79 courses in 2020/21
- 1,900 places funded in each of 2021/22 and 2022/23.
HCI Pillar 1 courses will be delivered in all of the universities, 10 institutes of technology, and nine privately-run colleges.
All courses under Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 were selected by an independent panel with experts from industry and education following a competitive tendering process. Courses are in areas that have been deemed by Government as being of critical importance: digital skills, soft skills, management and leadership, and the workplace of the future. Many courses focus on future proofing the skills of those in employment, particularly in roles that may be impacted by digitalisation.
Candidates who wish to participate in Springboard+ 2020 or HCI pillar 1 courses will find full details on the approved courses on the dedicated information and applications website www.springboardcourses.ie