Athlone IT Secures 929 Funded or Part-funded places under Springboard+ and ICT Skills initiative for the 21/22 academic year
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins TD have today (Monday) launched 10,158 places on 294 courses under Springboard+ 2021. In addition 1,101 places on 1 and 2 year ICT graduate conversion courses are also on offer under the initiative.
Athlone Institute of Technology, and Ireland’s next Technological University following their merger with Limerick IT and soon to be known as Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, has been awarded 929 places in Springboard+ and ICT skills upskilling programmes, representing in excess of €4m in supported learning to be availed off by the Athlone campus and institute through this initiative. This represents a celebration of the work of our Athlone IT collaborating with Enterprise across the Midlands region in contributing to Ireland’s life-long learning agenda and meeting Ireland’s national and regional skills needs. And, in particular to our collaborative work in the Midlands Industry Forum.
Fully funded or part-funded places have been supported on 25 industry-focused programmes ranging from level 6 through to level 9 on the national framework of qualifications. All programmes, will be delivered in an online part-time flexible mode. This allocation represents a great endorsement of the work taking place towards delivering industry relevant and job relevant programmes, designed in conjunction with industry and Irelands national skills polices, across all faculties at Athlone IT.
Dr Michael Tobin, Dean of Faculty, Continuing, Professional, Online and Distance Learning stated that ‘In these difficult times, it is great to see the level of support from the government to support part-time learning and specifically upskilling initiatives through this call. In all we have received a 9% increase in learner places and 18% increase in potential income to €4m +’ while he further added ‘that once again Athlone IT has received over 8.5% or all programmes to be offered nationally, putting it very definitely in the top tier of institutions delivering part-time flexible online and relevant upskilling programmes nationally.’ Note: in 2020/21 Athlone IT was also the highest higher education institute in receipt of this funding also.
Springboard+ and ICT Skills programmes are free for people who are unemployed, those who were previously self-employed and returners to the workforce. Programmes are also free for people in employment, on NFQ Level 6 programmes. For employed participants on programmes NFQ level 7 – 9, participants are only required to contribute 10% of the fee, while 90% of the course fee is funded by the Government.
In the academic year 2020/2021, 852 students from 26 counties employed across 681 companies benefited from the Springboard + and ICT skills places. Springboard + facilitates the continued growth and development of the Irish workforce, helping future-proof career prospects by keeping learners skills and knowledge up-to-date, which in turn boosts professional credibility and employability. In the midst of a global pandemic and being the sole higher education institute in the Midlands, Athlone Institute of Technology are uniquely positioned to meet the current and future skills needs of industry and play an integral role supplying a talent pipeline of highly skilled, flexible workers - ultimately ensuring the continued growth and success of the region.
Finally, Mr Seadna Ryan, Head of Department of Lifelong Learning was delighted to advise us that ‘Applications are open from Wednesday 16th June and that he would urge people to apply early as demand was strong last year with many Full details of approved Springboard+ programmes are available at www.aitflexiblelearning.ie or click HERE to see an excel spreadsheet of all the courses available.