A graduate's cap sits atop a pile of books, representative of college placements and further success.
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Irish Government announces 11,400 free and subsidised college placements

21 May 2024

People who are unemployed, self-employed or returners to work can apply for a place on Springboard+ and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 Graduate Conversion Programmes.

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Patrick O’Donovan, TD and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins, TD announced today (21 May) that those who are unemployed, self-employed and returning to work can avail of 11,471 free and subsidised college placements in the coming academic year (2024-2025). 

The placements will be offered on more than 350 courses in areas such as cybersecurity, virtual reality, health innovation, logistics, climate, sustainability and energy, to provide education and pathways to sustainable employment.

Anyone within the unemployed, self-employed and returning to work categories can expect their course to be free, while other participants will see 90pc of fees covered by the Government. Accessibility is a key focus of the initiative, with the majority of courses available either online or in a blended format. 

Springboard+, a Government-backed programme which provides free and subsidised upskilling and reskilling higher education opportunities, will account for 8,225 places on 248 courses. The Human Capital Initiative Pillar 1, which offers incentivised places for graduates to reskill, will have 3,216 places on 107 courses. 

The courses, which are managed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), are tailored towards the unemployed, self-employed, returners to the workforce and individuals seeking to upskill or reskill, with the goal of curating a skilled workforce for a “rapidly evolving economy”, according to Collins. 

“Today’s announcement helps us ensure that our workforce is ready to respond to the changes happening in the world of work, and also provide the country with the skills to deliver in key areas such as climate, sustainability and renewable energy,” said Collins.

CEO of the HEA Alan Wall commented on the importance of accessibility, noting that the “subsidised nature of Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 programmes ensures accessibility for a diverse group of learners, contributing to a more resilient and adaptable workforce”.

Applications for the placements open today, with eligibility criteria differing for EU and non-EU applicants. To apply for the placements, visit the Springboard website.

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Laura Varley
By Laura Varley

Laura Varley is a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic. She has a background in technology PR and journalism and is borderline obsessed with film and television, the theatre, Marvel and Mayo GAA. She is currently trying to learn how to knit.

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