07 May, 2015 - Ministers O’Sullivan and English launch largest Springboard offering of 9,000 free higher education places for jobseekers

Springboard+ 2015 is the largest offering of free part-time and full time higher education places to provide reskilling and upskilling opportunities for up to 9,000 jobseekers.

Springboard+ 2015 which incorporates part-time Springboard courses and full-time ICT skills conversion programmes will provide for 285 courses at 42 higher education institutions across Ireland. 

Announcing the 9,000 free places, Minister O’Sullivan said: “Now in its fifth year Springboard is playing a crucial role in rapidly responding to emerging skills needs in high-growth areas and in supporting people back into employment.”

“This year courses will focus on areas such as ICT, Manufacturing, Construction, Entrepreneurship, Cross-Enterprise Skills and International Financial Services.”

“The 9,000 places now on offer represent a €27 million investment from the National Training Fund and will equip jobseekers with new skills in sectors with good employment prospects.” 

Since 2011, 20,000 jobseekers have participated on Springboard courses with a €85 million investment from the Exchequer. 

Minister English said, “I am delighted that new data from the Department of Social Protection shows that 74% of all Springboard participants between 2011 and 2014 are no longer on the Live Register.”

“The latest Springboard survey respondents have also reported that 95% of jobs they get are in Ireland and 49% are located outside Dublin.”

A new trend analysis report will be published by the HEA in the coming weeks.

Full details on Springboard+ together with the eligibility criteria, are available on www.springboardcourses.ie  

A Freephone Guidance line 1800 303 523 is available to offer advice on course choices and applications.

Springboard is part of the Government’s Skills to Work initiative aimed at making it easier for jobseekers and employers to know what Government skills initiatives are available to them www.skillstowork.ie.


Note for Editors

Springboard is designed for people with a previous history of employment who may now need to change career paths to get back into sustainable employment.

It was first launched as part of the Government’s Jobs Initiative in May 2011. Since then over 21,000 people have been supported to undertake higher education courses in areas of identified skills needs.

Springboard courses are selected by an expert industry and education panel.


Springboard+ 2015 selection panel:      

Chairperson: Senator Feargal Quinn Businessman; founder of Superquinn; independent member of Seanad Éireann

Ray Bowe Project Manager Skills Unit, Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Ireland

Charles Dolan Senior Personnel Representative, Eli Lilly; Chairman of Education and Skills Group at IBEC; President, Irish Science Teachers Association

Una Halligan Chairperson of the EGFSN

Joe Hogan Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Openet

Niamh Mernagh Educationalist, retired Senior Inspector for Guidance (Post-Primary) in the Department of Education and Skills

Tina Gannon, Enterprise Ireland

All courses are offered for a maximum of 12 months and are based on identified current or future skills need within the economy. Participants who complete these courses will be awarded a higher education or training award at Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

Applications for Springboard programmes are managed through a central online information and applications system- www.springboardcourses.ie.


To be eligible for a place on a Springboard course a person must be unemployed, actively seeking employment, and be in receipt of one of the qualifying Department of Social Protection payments or be signing for credits or be previously self-employed.

Full details on the available courses and the eligibility criteria can be found on the website.

Skills to Work:

In addition to Springboard+, the other strands of the Government’s industry focused upskilling and reskilling initiatives are: 

·        Momentum

·        Skillnets jobseeker programmes

·        JobBridge

For an overview of the coordinated approach see www.skillstowork.ie