Education ministers called on Higher Education institutions to draft new proposals for new ‘Springboard+’ courses.
Education ministers Richard Bruton and John Halligan want to widen Springboard’s net, with Bruton emphasising a “welcome move towards full employment” in the country.
Springboard+ courses aim to bring unemployed people back into the labour force by offering free or highly subsidised part-time courses, with exceptions for homemakers and graduates looking to upskill IT or manufacturing qualifications.
All courses are now being offered regardless of employment status, with the exception of Information and Communication (ICT) conversion courses.
Last week, Bruton explained that Springboard+ provides “the opportunity to upskill or re-skill in areas of identified skills needs within the economy”.
Halligan spoke of the initiative’s success so far, with 80 per cent of Springboard participants from 2011 to 2016 not on the Live Register. In total, 47,000 higher education places have been offered.
All courses are free, except for employed participants doing a level seven to nine course, who are expected to pay 10 per cent.
DCU offers a Higher Diploma in software development through the Springboard+ initiative. The course is online and aimed at those not qualified for software development, but who do have a primary degree.
DCU also offers free postgrad diplomas in management of clean technologies, operations, information system strategy and internet enterprise systems. Additionally, certificates in software systems and entrepreneurship as well as in information technology are available.
Former Springboard participant Edel Horan got a diploma in management of operations and said that the online distance learning was “very beneficial” as she “liked the way I could dip in and out of the course.”
However, Edel did not have the best broadband at home, which meant she would often have to go to a hotel to complete the course.
William Schofield received the same degree as Edel and highly recommends that students avail of Springboard+.
“Even after 32 years of industry experience I’ve learned so much in the last year” Schofield said.
Brendan Kelly Palenque
Image credit: The Irish Times