A new initiative called ‘Springboard’ is being launched today, which will provide 6,000 new places in higher education programmes for unemployed people in areas such as digital marketing, engineering and medical devices.
Managed by the Higher Education Authority, the initiative is aimed at those who were previously working but lost their jobs or were made redundant and who, with some upskilling, could fill current or future job shortages.
“We have a very talented workforce, but the loss of employment in traditional sectors such as construction, manufacturing and retail has meant that many of these qualified and experienced people are now out of work,” said Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn, TD, who is launching the initiative today.
“At the same time, we know that there are skills shortages in certain areas. By providing focused up-skilling and retraining programmes, such as those offered through Springboard, we can match those vacancies with a newly re-skilled workforce and get people back to work.”
Springboard will allow those who undertake the courses to retain their benefits and if they find a job, they will still be permitted and encouraged to finish their course.
Welcomed by the high-tech sector
ICT Ireland, the IBEC group that represents the high-tech sector, has welcomed the funding for Springboard courses.
“The focus on high-tech courses is strong recognition that the sector will lead Ireland’s jobs recovery. It is critical that we encourage more people to choose a career in the technology sector,” said ICT Ireland director Paul Sweetman.
“With over 1,600 jobs announced since January, demand for skilled individuals in the technology sector is growing. To ensure demand is met, more effort is needed to promote the variety of career opportunities in the sector. Conversion courses for non-technology graduates and initiatives such as Springboard have a vital role to play.”