White welcomes over 6,000 new places announced on Springboard 2012

Deputy Alex White has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., of 6,000 new part-time higher education places for unemployed people, as part of the Springboard initiative.

36 institutes of technology, universities and privately-run higher education colleges around the country will be offering 220 Springboard courses.

These courses will be in the expanding enterprise areas of ICT, medical devices, the green economy, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and international financial services. Programmes will also be available in cross-enterprise skills such as Six Sigma, lean and quality systems, international selling, languages, business start-up and entrepreneurship skills.

Courses are free, part-time, and are at certificate, degree and postgraduate level.

Commenting on the 6,000 new places today, Deputy White said: “The Government is committed, through the Action Plan for Jobs, to supporting business to create jobs and getting growth back into the economy. Springboard is contributing to the supply of graduates with the skills and qualifications needed by the expanding growth sectors of our economy. Not only do these graduates have up to date qualifications, they also have a wealth of experience and workforce skills to bring to an employer.”

The eligibility criteria have been expanded to include people who were previously self-employed and people in receipt of an extended number of social welfare payments such as the Disability Allowance and the Carer’s Allowance.

A Freephone Guidance line 1800 303523 is also being put in place to assist people with course choices and applications. The HEA-funded Freephone line is being hosted in the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed.

Over 3,500 people are due to graduate this month from the first round of Springboard programmes, which were put in place in 2011.