Springboard+ 2016 is the latest offering of free part-time and full-time higher education places to provide reskilling and upskilling opportunities for up to 5,825 jobseekers.
Springboard is designed to encourage a response by educational institutions to meet the emerging skill needs of enterprise. All courses approved for funding under Springboard+ are selected by an independent panel following a competitive tendering process.
Almost half the places (2,752) are on ICT courses reflecting the continuing demand for skills in this area. Skills for manufacturing are also significant (1,298) reflecting the strong performance of this sector.
There are 180 courses, both full- and part-time, in 36 educational institutions across all of the regions.
Announcing the 5,825 free places Minister Bruton said: “Springboard+ embodies the core ambition set out earlier in the year in the National Skills Strategy – to ensure that we have a system that is flexible; responsive to the needs of enterprise and adult learners; and that delivers the maximum impact for our public resources.”
“I am delighted to announce that this year, the ICT Conversion courses will also be available to eligible participants on a pilot part-time, two year option. This is due to the continuing demand for high quality ICT graduates”.
In 2016, priority has been given to ICT, high-level manufacturing, entrepreneurship and international financial services. Also included are new courses in culinary skills in order to address emerging skills gaps in that area.
Minister Halligan underlined the importance of cooperation with industry. He noted that “the strong ties with enterprise are a key feature of Springboard+ programmes. All the courses available under the programme are in areas of identified skills needs based on industry input and guidance from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs. This engagement with industry allows Springboard+ to help us in responding quickly to developing areas of skills needs.”
The 5,825 places now on offer represent a €28,634,030 investment from the National Training Fund and will equip jobseekers with new skills in sectors with good employment prospects.
To date over €113 million has been allocated to Springboard from Exchequer funding, providing for over 33,000 places.
Springboard continues to demonstrate good employment outcomes. A recent survey of all Springboard graduates 2011 – 2015 indicates that within three to six months of completion of a Springboard course, 54% of respondents are employed or self-employed, with progression to employment increasing steadily over time. In addition, a survey of ICT Conversion Course graduates indicates that 75% of graduates are in employment within the same time scale. 95% of these graduates are employed in Ireland.
Springboard+ is co-funded by the European Union under the European Social Fund, as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.
Full details on Springboard+ together with the eligibility criteria, are available on www.springboardcourses.ie
A Freephone Guidance line, run by the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) is available to offer advice on course choices and applications on 1800 303 523.