Unemployed and thinking of returning to education? Well if so, the Department of Social Protection have made available a wide range of second chance educational opportunities for unemployed people, lone parents and people with disabilities. The aim of such an initiative is to raise educational and skills levels among the long term unemployed in order to help them to meet the requirements of the current labour market.
A sample of the options available are discussed below.
- Springboard Initiative
Springboard essentially offers free, part time/distance learning courses at certificate, degree and masters level, leading to qualifications that are sought-after among employers. The majority of these courses are one year or less in duration. Springboard is open to unemployed people who are seeking employment and who have a prior history of employment and think that a focused, high quality qualification is the key to getting back to work. When an individual enrols on such courses they are eligible to retain their benefits. In order to be eligible for Springboard, you must be:
Unemployed with a previous history of employment and satisfy one of the following three criteria;
Be in receipt of one of the following payments from the Department of Social Protection: Jobseeker’s Benefit/Jobseekers Allowance, One Parent Family or Disability Allowance, Qualified Adults of Working Age Carers Allowance, Farm Assist/Fish Assist Widow(er)s, Contributory or Non-contributory Pension, Blind Pension, Deserted Wives Allowance. There is no requirement to be in receipt of a payment for a particular period of time prior to the commencement of the programme;
Participants in receipt of an eligible payment at the time the Springboard course commences are eligible to apply for a place on that course.
People participating in the Community Employment Scheme, the Rural Social Scheme, TUS, JobBridge or in receipt of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance or the Short Term Enterprise Allowance may apply for Springboard course.
It is important to note that, in order to participate in a NFQ Level 9 programme (postgraduate course) at least one year must have lapsed since completing a full time undergraduate degree.
- ICT Skills Programme
The Department of Education, in a direct response to the ICT Skills shortage, conducted research. On foot of their findings, they released 700 places on intensive NFQ Level 8 Higher Diploma ICT skills conversion programmes by higher education providers in partnership with industry in 2012. This year they are again committed to releasing 769 places on such Level 8 Conversion Programmes, in collaboration with industry partners. This will provide graduates from other disciplines the opportunity to up-skill or re-skill through a one year, full time, Higher Diploma Conversion Programme in core, computing/programming, software and data analysis. All courses are supported by the HEA and Department of Education and Skills, which means the tuitions fees are waived.
- Momentum Programme
There are in excess of 6,500 new training places available to help long-term unemployed get back to work. These include digital media, food processing, medical devices and green energy. In order to be eligible for such programmes, you need to be unemployed for 12 months or longer and be in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance/Benefit or on the Live Register for 12 months or longer and be actively seeking work.
There are a number of other programmes available to unemployed people who wish to up skill or retrain. For further information, contact Clodagh A. Higgins of Galway Careers Clinic, Salthill, Galway on 091-581234 or firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively visit www.galwaycareersclinic.com.