Digital gaming degree open to jobseekers
UP to 200 jobseekers will be allowed to draw the dole while studying a free degree in digital games for the first time.
Unemployed people who want to pursue a career in the booming gaming industry are being encouraged to enroll on the course, which starts in October.
The honours-level degree in digital technology is mainly open to graduates -- but candidates with enthusiasm and a background suited to the industry will also be considered.
Those who finish the one-year degree at the Digital Skills Academy, off Thomas Street in Dublin, get a Dublin Institute of Technology award.
Social welfare claimants have been urged to grasp the opportunity as the country's technology hub enjoys a boom despite the economic crisis.
More than 4,500 jobs have already been created in the digital technology sector this year, while it is estimated that up to 2,500 jobs cannot be filled because of a lack of skilled candidates.
This is the second year that students have been sought for the WebElevate course, but the first time they can study games development as part of it.
The course is part of the Springboard programme, run by the Higher Education Authority, which offers free courses at certificate, degree and masters level in qualifications that are in high demand.
For those who are not interested in games, there are other options.
These include specialising in developing mobile phone applications, online content development and project management and digital marketing.
A spokesperson for the Digital Skills Academy said the course is geared towards graduates, but it doesn't rule out those without a degree.
"If someone has considerable professional experience that lends itself well to the programme, they are welcome to apply. They might be a graphic designer whose skills would work well in online design, for example."
Springboard will highlight all of its courses in roadshows in the coming weeks.
An online gaming company boss said there is potential for major jobs growth in digital games development in Ireland as major international and homegrown companies have located here.
"Having people with the right skills to fill these roles is crucial for Ireland's success in this arena," said Jamie McCormick of Gala Networks Europe.
He said the new programme can deliver training that is "very relevant" to companies based here.
The closing date for applications is August 19.