4,500 on Springboard 2017 courses – Minister Bruton and Minister Halligan

31 October 2017 

First time homemakers can avail of courses

Over 300 homemakers enrol in Free Higher Education Courses, including in Advanced Manufacturing, Business and Entrepreneurship and ICT

The Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, TD, and the Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, today welcomed the strong uptake of Springboard+ courses commencing in autumn 2017.

Springboard+ provides free third level courses at certificate, degree and masters level in areas of skills shortages. The programme has proven extremely successful, placing over 35,000 people on free courses since 2011, with well over two thirds of participants finding employment in their area of study within 6 months of completing their course.

Infographic Springboard

To date, 4,491 people have accepted places on over 208 courses representing an estimated 90% fill-rate, which is in line with last year’s uptake. Some courses are still open for application, more details can be found at www.springboardcourses.ie

For the first time, the government decided to extend Springboard+ to homemakers who wish to reskill and return to the workforce. The uptake has been strong with over 300 homemakers commencing free courses at certificate, degree and masters level in a variety of areas, including advanced manufacturing, business and entrepreneurship, and ICT.

Those in employment have also been given the opportunity for the first time to upskill under Springboard+ in courses other than ICT with 1,080 people taking courses in Advanced manufacturing and Biopharma/Medtech sectors.  

The extension of Springboard+ to people in the work force and to homemakers is part of a suite of measures which are being taken by both Ministers to ensure Ireland becomes a leader in anticipating and responding to the rapidly changing skills needs across all sectors. This includes the establishment of the National Skills Council, which is chaired by Minister Bruton, and the nine Regional Skills Fora, as well as the creation of Technological Universities.  

Minister Bruton said:

“I have set the ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe within a decade. Key to achieving this ambition will be to provide opportunities for life-long learning and upskilling, throughout ones career. That is why I’m particularly pleased with the response to the expanded eligibility for Springboard+ courses. Over 2,000 employed and self-employed people and 300 homemakers have taken up places on Springboard+ courses, allowing them to upskill and reskill in advanced manufacturing, business and entrepreneurship, and ICT.

“Home makers make a huge contribution to society. It is important that the government supports people who have worked in the home to reskill and return to work if they wish to. Springboard+ gives people the opportunity to do a free course at certificate, degree or masters level. Over half of homemakers enrolled in courses in advanced manufacturing and ICT.

“Springboard+ is a great example of education providers and employers working together to develop the talent required in the economy and changing lives by giving people the opportunity to upskill or reskill whether they are unemployed, homemakers or in employment. Since 2011 over €134m has been allocated to Springboard+ providing for over 35,000 places.

“As unemployment continues to fall, I will be considering ways in which we can continue to expand Springboard+ to support the ambition to make Ireland a leader in anticipating and responding to the rapidly changing skills needs across all sectors.”

Minister Halligan commented:

“Springboard+ 2017 was opened up to homemakers to enable those who have spent time at home undertaking caring duties, and who wish to return to the workforce, to receive assistance in upskilling and reskilling to enable them to do so. I am delighted to note that over 300 people have taken up places on Springboard+ on this basis.” 

The 6,471 places on offer over the course of the programme represent an investment of nearly €27.5m from the National Training Fund with co-funding from the European Union under the European Social Fund, as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.