DkIT's Lifelong Learning Centre offers jobseekers a chance to reskill

Dundalk Institute of Technology has been awarded funding from the Higher Education Authority to support 220 unemployed people take part in 15 part-time education programmes under the 2012 Springboard Programme.

The 2012 Springboard allocations were announced by the Minister for Education and Skills Minister Ruairi Quinn last Monday.

"Springboard is specifically designed to reach out to those people who never expected to find themselves unemployed, who have skillsets including third-level degrees but who find themselves in a sector for which there is no longer a demand", Mr Quinn said at the launch.

Mr Quinn said more than 3,500 people were due to graduate this month from the first round of Springboard programmes. "Not only do these graduates have up-to-date qualifications, they also have a wealth of experience and workforce skills to bring to an employer".

Overall Springboard 2012 will offer 6,000 free part-time education places on 220 courses in 36 universities, institutes of technology and privately run higher education colleges nationwide. Springboard allows unemployed persons who undertake courses to retain their benefits and if they find a job, they will still be permitted and encouraged to finish their course. Following feedback from the first phase of Springboard, eligibility criteria has been expanded to include people who were previously self-employed and those in receipt of an extended number of social welfare payments such as disability and carer's allowance.

Dundalk Institute of Technology is offering 15 Springboard courses through its Lifelong Learning Centre. Courses span a range of academic levels and cover such areas as Digital Marketing, Business Entrepreneurship, Renewable Energy Systems, Bio-Pharma, Agri-waste Management, Food Supply Chain Management, Games Design and Computing. All courses are one-year in length. Full details of DkIT's suite of Springboard programmes including academic entry requirements, application process, application deadlines and descriptions of each of the 15 courses can be viewed at www.dkit.ie/springboard.

To be eligible for a place on a Springboard course a person must be unemployed with a previous history of employment and be in receipt of specified social welfare payments. There is no requirement to be in receipt of a payment for a particular period of time prior to the commencement of the course. Participants in receipt of an eligible payment at the time the Springboard course commences are eligible to apply for a place on that course once they meet the minimum academic entry criteria. However, providers will be required to give priority to applications from people who are long term unemployed. You can find out more at www.springboardcourses.ie.

Speaking of the initiative Anton Barrett, Head of Lifelong Learning at DkIT said, "Springboard is a terrific opportunity for people who have found themselves out of work as a result Ireland's economic recession to reboot their careers. At a time when the cost of everything seems to be rising along comes this excellent government scheme that provides jobseekers with an opportunity to supplement their skills with new higher education qualifications targeted at job rich sectors for free."