Free cour­ses help home­mak­ers step back on jobs lad­der

Spring­board en­cour­ages re­turn to ed­u­ca­tion

Irish Independent - - News - Kather­ine Don­nelly

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.

Am­bi­tion

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.

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