Over 10,000 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives.
The courses are available to people in Kilkenny, and will be delivered by institutions across the country.
Springboard+ provides free courses for people in Kilkenny and nationwide who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its tenth year, over 75,000 people have benefitted from Springboard+ to date.
Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.
For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D. said, “As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need.
“Springboard+ and the graduate conversion courses under the Human Capital Initiative provide a targeted response to skills needs, enabling people to upskill and reskill in areas of critical importance which have come to the fore as a result of Covid-19, including Cybersecurity, Virtual Reality, Health Innovation, and Logistics.
“Programmes in Climate/Sustainability and Energy which are central to the Programme for Government are also being funded.”
Dr. Vivienne Patterson, Head of Skills and Engagement at the Higher Education Authority, said:
“Springboard+ and HCI courses give people who are unemployed, those looking to return to work and people in employment a great opportunity to upskill or reskill – particularly in areas where there are skills shortages. We work closely with employers across the country to ensure that the courses that are on offer are in-line with industry needs and best practices.
We are delighted that this year, 90% of courses will be delivered in a flexible manner – which will allow more people to engage with the courses which may have been inaccessible to them before, because of work or family commitments, or because of where they live. This means people from Kilkenny can, effectively, participate in courses anywhere in Ireland – and vice versa.”
Helpline – 1800 303 523
Candidates who wish to participate in Springboard+ 2021 or HCI Pillar 1 courses will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Applications, as well as a dedicated helpline for queries will open today, Wednesday, 16th June.
Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
Dr. Patterson said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this service to potential learners. Our team of guidance counsellors will provide comprehensive, impartial advice and guidance on Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 education options. It can feel daunting to return to education. A call to our helpline is a good first step if you are thinking of applying for a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course this summer”.
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