Two men and a woman stand outdoors holding signs that spell 'Skills that work'.
From left: Minister of State Niall Collins, Dr Vivienne Patterson of HEA, and Minister Simon Harris. Image: Fennell Photography

10,000 free course places will be available to develop ‘critical’ skills

14 Jun 2021

The free course places will enable people to upskill in areas such as cybersecurity, virtual reality, health innovation and logistics.

More than 10,000 places on almost 300 courses in Ireland will become available for free under Springboard+ 2021.

This was announced today (14 June) by 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.

The courses will be free of charge for those who are unemployed, self-employed or those who are returning to work.

Collins said he is pleased that 90pc of Springboard+ courses will be delivered in “a more flexible format”, which will enable “more people to engage in upskilling and reskilling”.

Harris said the courses will “provide a targeted response to skills needs, enabling people to upskill and reskill in areas of critical importance which have come to the fore as a result of Covid-19, including cybersecurity, virtual reality, health innovation, and logistics”.

He added that programmes in climate, sustainability and energy are also being funded.

Springboard+ courses range from Level 6 to Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and are delivered by public and private higher education providers around the country.

In addition to the 10,000 free Springboard+ places, more than 1,800 courses will also be funded for graduates under the Human Capital Initiative as an incentive to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies.

The Higher Education Authority’s CEO, Alan Wall, said Springboard+ is celebrating its 10th year. A total of 75,000 learners have upskilled or reskilled in that time.

“We also celebrate the work of our higher education institutions collaborating with enterprise in contributing to Ireland’s lifelong learning agenda and meeting Ireland’s national and regional skills needs,” he said.

Candidates who wish to participate in Springboard+ 2021 or Human Capital Initiative courses will find more details here. Applications will open on Wednesday 16 June.

Earlier this month, the Irish Government announced a €225m investment in further and higher education and research, including a significant skills package for upskilling and reskilling for workers whose jobs are unlikely to return post-pandemic.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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