Free courses help homemakers step back on jobs ladder
Springboard encourages return to education
MORE than 300 homemakers have been lured back to education to build skills for a job in the modern economy under the Government’s Springboard+ scheme.
Springboard+ provides free third-level courses at certificate, degree and masters level in fields where there is a skills shortage, such as information and communication technology (ICT).
Since its launch in 2011, the scheme has been restricted to unemployed people getting a social welfare payment, but a relaxation of the rules has opened it to homemakers who want to return to the workforce.
More than 300 of the 4,500 who started on courses this autumn are homemakers, half of whom are on ICT and advanced manufacturing courses, while other popular options include business and entrepreneurship.
The new rules also allow employed people to upskill in courses other than ICT, and more than 1,000 are taking courses in advanced manufacturing and the biopharma/ medtech sectors.
Education Minister Richard Bruton said homemakers made a huge contribution to society and it was important that the Government supported them to reskill and return to work.
Now in its seventh year, 35,000 people have participated in Springboard, and more than two-in-three have found employment in their area of study within six months of completing their course.
Mr Bruton said that he wants to see Ireland’s education and training service become the best in Europe within a decade.
“Key to achieving this ambition will be to provide opportunities for life-long learning and upskilling throughout one’s career,” he said. “Over 2,000 employed and self-employed people and 300 homemakers have taken up places on Springboard+ courses. Homemakers make a huge contribution to society. It is important the Government supports people who have worked in the home to reskill and return to work.
“As unemployment continues to fall, I will be considering ways in which we can continue to expand Springboard+ to support the ambition to make Ireland a leader in responding to the rapidly changing skills needed across all sectors.”
The 6,471 places on offer over the course of the programme represent an investment of nearly €27.5m from the National Training Fund with co-funding from the European Union under the European Social Fund, as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.