Springboard+ offers a choice of over 290 free, part-time and intensive conversion courses in higher education from certificate, to degree, to post-graduate level
Springboard+ is part of the Government's Skills to Work initiative aimed at making it easier for jobseekers to find work and for employers to plug skills gaps in their organisations.
This year there are free part-time and full-time higher education places for up to 9,000 jobseekers to reskill, upskill and find a new career path.
These 9,000 places will be divided across part-time Springboard+ courses and full-time ICT skills conversion programmes. A total of 296 courses are available at 42 higher education institutions across Ireland.
"Now in its fifth year, Springboard+ is playing a crucial role in rapidly responding to emerging skills needs in high-growth areas and in supporting people back into employment," said Minister for Education, Jan O'Sullivan, at the programme's recent launch.
All courses are offered for a maximum of 12 months and are based on identified current or future skills needs within the economy. Participants who complete these courses receive awards at certificate, diploma, degree and postgraduate level (Levels 6-9 on the National Framework of Qualifications).
This year, courses will focus on areas such as ICT, Manufacturing, Construction, Entrepreneurship, Cross-Enterprise Skills and International Financial Services.
The 9,000 places now on offer represent a €27 million investment from the National Training Fund and will equip jobseekers with new skills in sectors with good employment prospects.
Since 2011, 21,000 jobseekers have participated in Springboard+ courses, with an €85 million investment from the Exchequer.
Minister of State for Skills, Research & Innovation, Damien English, explains just how successful the initiative has been.
"I am delighted that new data from the Department of Social Protection shows that 74pc of all Springboard+ participants between 2011 and 2014 are no longer on the Live Register," he said.
"The latest survey respondents have also reported that 95pc of jobs they get are in Ireland, with 49pc located outside Dublin."
To see if you are eligible for a Springboard+ 2015 course turn to page 18. We would also encourage you to discuss your circumstances at your local DSP office or come along to one of three showcase events, where one-to-one advice and support will be available.
For more information and to apply for a free Springboard+ course place visit: www.springboardcourses.ie, or contact the Springboard+ Helpline on 1800 303523