27 February, 2017 - Minister Bruton announces a further competitive Call to Higher Education providers for course proposals which will be funded under Springboard+ 2017

Eligibility Extended to Homemakers and Biopharma / Medtech Sectors

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) which manages Springboard+ on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills has issued a competitive Call to all Higher Education providers for course proposals which will be funded under Springboard+ 2017.

Springboard+ forms part of the Action Plan for Education, our plan to make the Irish education and training system the best in Europe within a decade. 

Now in its seventh year, Springboard+ has to date provided over 35,000 free higher education places, primarily to jobseekers in need of upskilling or reskilling to allow them to re-enter the labour market. It involves a job placement, which has been a very successful feature achieving high employment outcomes. Over 80% have entered permanent employment.

It can now be extended to other priority groups where new talent can be reached and supported. From 2017 the eligibility criteria for Springboard+ will be expanded to include:

  • Homemakers, and
  • Those in employment who wish to upskill or reskill to meet a specific emerging skills need in the Biopharma/Med Tech sector. 

Upskilling and reskilling is becoming a regular feature of working life for many people, and the programme is particularly suited to support that need. Given the success of this innovative programme to date we hope we will be in a position to expand the Springboard+ model further in the years ahead.

Speaking today the Minister said “in the area of skills, by implementing the right mix of policies, we can deliver dramatic changes in our ability as a country to attract more jobs from abroad, grow more businesses within the country, and ultimately support strong economic growth.

“I am delighted with the success of Springboard+ and its success in getting people back into employment in sectors where there are identified skills needs. When the initiative was first introduced in 2011 unemployment was at 15%. Unemployment has now dropped to 6.8% and over 200,000 more people are at work than in early 2012 when I launched the Action Plan for Jobs.

“Springboard has been particularly successful at giving people the skills to get back into the workforce. 80% of Springboard participants (2011 – 2015) are no longer on the Live Register.

“This year we are expanding the programme to Homemakers, and those in employment in the Biopharma/Med Tech sector to meet a specific emerging skills need.Given the success of this innovative programme to date I am hopeful that we will be in a position to expand the Springboard+ model in the years ahead.”

Notes to Editor:

Springboard+ provides free full-time and part-time higher education courses in areas where there are identified skills needs and/or employment opportunities. Courses to date have been delivered in areas such ICT, Manufacturing which includes the biopharma sector, Construction, Entrepreneurship, Cross-Enterprise Skills, the Hospitality Sector and International Financial Services.

Springboard+ courses which are at level 6 (higher certificate) to level 9 (masters degree) on the National Framework of Qualifications, are delivered by public and private higher education providers around the country.

Springboard+ incorporates the ICT skills conversion programme.

To be considered eligible for approval, Springboard+ courses must seek to address an identified current or future skills need.

Course proposals must be submitted online via http://skillsdirect.hea.ie

The closing date for submission of proposals is13.00 on Friday 24th March 2017.

Any queries on the Call process for 2017 must be emailed to springboard@hea.ie 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+ 2017 will find full details on the approved courses on the dedicated information and applications website www.springboardcourses.ie   during June 2017.

Springboard+ forms part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, the Action Plan for Education and the National Skills Strategy.  The Programme is funded through the National Training Fund and the European Social Fund.

The Call document and the ICT conversion guidance document are available here.

Springboard 2017 - Call for Proposals February 2017 - Springboard 2017 - Call for Proposals February 2017.pdf

Springboard 2017 - ICT skills conversion courses - Springboard 2017 - ICT skills conversion courses.pdf