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Government announces 6,000 extra third-level places for the unemployed

Springboard initiative has already helped 10,000 people in declining industries get into further education.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn

AN ADDITIONAL 6,000 places in third-level courses will be made available to unemployed people as the government expands the Springboard initiative.

Springboard is a government scheme designed for people who worked in sectors such as construction, who have to change career paths to get back into employment.

First launched in 2011, the scheme has supported 10,000 people to take on part-time higher education courses.

Announcing the 6,000 free places, Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn said: “Springboard is providing a dynamic pipeline of job-ready graduates, with up-to-the-minute skills and valuable qualifications for sectors of the Irish economy that are expanding and recruiting.

This practical initiative, which is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, is tailored to labour-market needs and designed to stimulate economic growth.

The announcement was roundly welcomed, with the chairman of the Higher Education Authority John Hennessy saying that Springboard is “more than an education initiative; it is driving a culture change within the system”.

Hennessy was joined by IDA Ireland CEO Barry O’Leary saying that the upskilling of the workforce would attract prospective employers.

“Information Technology and International Financial Services are two areas where the IDA is having great successes in recruiting new firms and this is creating new job opportunities– this initiative will provide additional skilled staff to meet the needs of these firms.

“Targeted skills development programmes such as Springboard are very effective in building the skills base available to FDI clients in Ireland and greatly assist IDA Ireland in the pursuit of investment abroad.

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