Springboard and ICT Skills Conversion Programme
Springboard which was first launched as part of the Government’s Job’s Initiative in 2011, is a specific initiative that strategically targets funding of free higher education courses to enable jobseekers to upskill or reskill in areas where there are identified labour market skills shortages or employment opportunities. Springboard courses range from levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) . Courses are delivered in areas such as ICT, manufacturing, international financial services, hospitality and entrepreneurial/business start-up skills. Work placements are offered on almost all of the courses.
The ICT skills conversion programme is being provided as part of the joint Government-Industry ICT Action Plan 2014 - 2018. The programme is targeted at jobseekers who already hold a level 8 or equivalent qualification and have the capacity and underlying aptitude, to undergo an intensive full-time programme of study and work experience, to acquire honours degree level ICT programming skills. The ICT skills conversion programme is also available to eligible participants on a part-time, two year option.
Springboard courses and the ICT skills conversion programme are now run as a joint initiative under the banner brand Springboard+.
Springboard+ courses are fully funded by the Department of Education and Skills and no fees are charged to participants.
Springboard+ is funded by the National Training Fund with co-funding from the European Union under the European Social Fund, as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.
Springboard+ 2017 which incorporates Springboard courses and the full-time and part-time ICT skills conversion programme, will provide for 6,471 places on 198 courses in public and private educational institutions throughout Ireland. All courses selected for funding under Springboard+ 2017 are in areas of identified enterprise skills needs. Courses were selected, following a competitive call for proposals, by an independent evaluation panel using published criteria that included value for money, flexible delivery, engagement with industry and skills relevance. Courses approved for funding in 2017 will be in the following skills areas: ICT, manufacturing which includes the biopharma sector, financial services, entrepreneurship, and the hospitality sector.
Expansion of the eligibility criteria for Springboard+ 2017: Under Springboard+ 2017, the eligibility criteria has been expanded to include homemakers and those in employment including those in self-employment who wish to upskill, reskill or cross skill in the Biopharma/Med Tech sector and those in employment, or self-employment in the ICT sector who wish to upskill from a level 7 to a level 8 qualification.
To date almost 47,000 free higher education places have been provided under Springboard+
How to Apply
Further information on Springboard+ 2017 including entry requirements and eligibility criteria are available on the dedicated information and applications website: http://www.springboardcourses.ie/
Applications are submitted online and decisions around the award of places on the programmes are a matter for individual course providers.
Competitive Call for proposals to be funded under Springboard+ 2018
The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, together with the Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills, John Halligan TD have issued a competitive call to all Higher Education providers for course proposals which will be funded under Springboard+ 2018.
This year, for the first time, Springboard+ 2018 courses will be extended so that all courses will now be open to people irrespective of their employment status.
- Level 6 courses will remain free to all participants.
- Returners (homemakers) and those in receipt of certain allowances, including Jobseekers Benefit, will continue to be able to access courses free of charge.
- For employed participants on courses NFQ level 7 - 9, 90% of the course fee will be funded by the Government, with participants required to contribute just 10% of the fee.
The closing date for submission of proposals is 13.00 on Friday 02 March 2018.
Any queries on the Call process for 2018 must be emailed to email@example.com and responses will be made via email.
Decisions on proposals for funding will be made by a panel of experts with industry and educational expertise, supported by the HEA. An independent process auditor will oversee the assessment and selection process.
Candidates who wish to participate in Springboard+ 2018 will find full details on the approved courses on the dedicated information and applications website www.springboardcourses.ie during June 2018