The Irish Government has announced 6,000 new part-time higher education places for job seekers via the Springboard programme, focused on areas with skills shortages.
The Springboard courses will focus on developing expertise in sectors that have been identified by Forfás as having the greatest future skills needs and job opportunities, such as ICT, medical devices, the green economy, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and international financial services.
“Our indigenous technology start-ups and SMEs need people with high-level ICT, business and international sales and marketing skills,” said Frank Ryan, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland. “The Springboard students who graduate over the coming years will have the skills to allow them to take up the opportunities that indigenous companies can offer and they will provide those companies with the types of skills that can drive new business and export growth.”
For the first time, these higher education places include opportunities for people who were formerly self-employed, giving them the option to upskill or reskill and then, perhaps, create new start-ups.
Tailoring education to fulfil business needs
Barry O’Leary, CEO of IDA Ireland, has welcomed the development, saying, “It is vital that job seekers focus on areas where there are current and future job opportunities. Programmes like Springboard and the ICT Conversion Programme have provided companies with the opportunity to engage with higher education providers to tailor programmes specifically to the needs of their businesses.”
The first 3,500 graduates from Springboard 2011 will be available for employment at the end of this month and O’Leary is confident they will be in significant demand.