Minister Simon Harris has launched additional higher-education places worth €30m to help people affected by the pandemic upskill and return to work.
Today (27 October), Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, launched 14,000 additional free or subsidised higher-education places in Ireland.
The places are worth more than €30m in total and are part of the jobs stimulus package announced in July of this year. The aim is to help get people back to work, drive upskilling and build economic confidence in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of the 14,000 places, 11,597 will be in 538 short, flexible courses across 32 higher-education institutes. These will be geared towards people who want to gain skills but cannot afford to take long periods of time away from the labour market. They will be delivered as standalone modules that can also be used as building blocks to a full qualification.
A further 2,555 places will be in 207 different postgraduate courses across public and private higher-education institutes. Both modular and postgraduate courses will span areas such as data analytics, environmental sciences, engineering, tourism and hospitality, ICT and health.
Harris said that many of the available courses will focus on “future-proofing” the skills of workers, especially in jobs that may have been impacted by digitalisation. This will pave the way for a “jobs-led recovery”, he added, focusing on upskilling and SME supports.
“The courses we are launching today will form a further response to the impacts of the global pandemic, providing upskilling and reskilling places for those who have been most affected and ensuring that they have the skills most needed by employers today,” he said.
“These courses will enable people across the country to embark on new pathways or refresh or reskill in their employment.
“This is exactly the kind of initiative we need to increase Irish university capacity to extract and adapt high-demand modules from existing programmes, and develop tailored courses to suit the needs of enterprise and lifelong learning.”
Harris advised people interested in applying to keep an eye out for details on the Higher Education Authority website.