€20m education plan will train up to 6,500
A €20m package to create 6,500 training and education places for jobless people will be announced today.
The number of places is almost twice the 3,500 signalled by the Government when it invited tenders to run the programmes, the Irish Independent has learned.
The extra places are being provided at no additional cost, as there was very competitive tendering to run the courses.
A total of 370 institutes of technology, VECs, private colleges and training organisations as well as not-for-profit bodies put in tenders for the Labour Market Activation Fund.
Tanaiste Mary Coughlan is expected to announce the names of the 26 successful tenders today -- half of them are believed to be public-sector educational institutions, the others in the private sector.
The courses will be a mix of short-term and longer-term programmes. They will be spread around the country. Target groups include those with low skills, and those formerly employed in declining sectors such as construction, retail and manufacturing. There will be an emphasis on the under-35s and the long-term unemployed.
It is understood that if the scheme is successful, additional funds will be made available.