DIT rushes to create 900 extra places for jobless
THE Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) is scrambling to create 900 extra college places next month, following a surprise €3m invitation from the Department of Education and Skills.
At least half a dozen other colleges have also been contacted within the past few days to run degree, diploma and other courses for jobless adults.
The offers caught the colleges on the hop as they had been turned down in the first batch announced in June, under the Labour Market Activation Fund by Education Minister Mary Coughlan.
On Thursday, she announced an extra €12m for 33 providers to run various courses and programmes for 5,000 unemployed people.
Apart from the third-level institutions, more than 20 VECs, private providers and not-for-profit organisations were also contacted.
DIT has welcomed this week's announcement but pointed out that there was very little time between now and the start of the academic year.
Director of Academic Affairs Dr Frank McMahon, said: "We are very pleased to play our part by providing these additional programmes, as part of the Labour Market Activation (LMA) initiative.
"DIT offers career-focused programmes in all our disciplines, and we are particularly well placed to assist people to re-skill in light of the current economic situation."
Funding for these programmes is being provided by the department and successful applicants will not be required to pay fees.
Courses will be offered by DIT in information communication technology; data management, statistics and mathematics; electrical engineering; construction management and supervision; transport technology; entrepreneurship; business operations; logistics and supply chain management.
Advanced entry to full-time DIT degree programmes will also be provided -- with exemption from one or more years of a degree programme -- based on recognition of prior learning, or professional experience.
Eligible degree programmes will be in sciences, engineering, ICT, financial services, hospitality and tourism.
A full list of approved programmes will be available by August 12 on www.dit.ie/upskill, where potential applicants can also get details about the academic or professional qualifications required for each course. The application deadline is September 3. To be eligible, an applicant must be in receipt of unemployment benefit for a minimum of three months prior to application, or have been a student or in training in the last academic year.