Farrell welcomes enhancements in the Springboard programme for jobseekers.

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell, has today (Monday) welcomed the announcement from the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD, that 6,100 free higher education places are being made available to jobseekers on the Springboard programme in 2014/15. With 170 courses available in 38 colleges, a wide variety of courses will be available to those who are unemployed and looking to upskill.

“I am delighted with today’s announcement that the Springboard scheme is to become more flexible in terms of eligibility. This increased level of flexibility will now allow people to apply for a place on a Springboard course as soon as they become unemployed instead of mandating that a person must be long-term unemployed in order to be eligible. However, those who are long-term unemployed will continue to receive priority for Springboard places. I am glad that, thanks to this increased flexibility, jobseekers will no longer be deemed ineligible for a place because they had taken seasonal or temporary work.”

“Furthermore, I am encouraged by the fact that work placements will be offered on almost every course available. In addition to upskilling, the provision of work-placements will allow participants to gain valuable experience which will further improve their employment prospects. Most of the courses available are part-time, free, and participants will be able to maintain their social welfare payments while they are completing these studies. However, some of the courses are full-time ICT skills conversion courses and those who are in receipt of a jobseekers payment and successfully gain a place on one of these courses, will be eligible to apply for the Back to Education Allowance.”

“With a large number of colleges across Dublin offering Springboard courses which focus on a range of in-demand sectors where employment opportunities are most plentiful, there is a great degree of choice for those who are unemployed to, not only gain the skills necessary to re-enter the labour market, but also to study something in which they have a genuine interest. Students will be able to gain awards at certificate, degree and post-graduate level.”

“I would encourage jobseekers in Fingal to consider upskilling and to check out the range of courses available through Springboard at www.springboardcourses.ie.”