Upskilling initiative boost for jobseekers
Recently unemployed people are chasing opportunities to go back to college to learn new skills.
Up to 6,000 part-time college places are available free of charge under the Government's Springboard initiative, which is aimed at those who have lost their jobs in recent years.
Last Monday, there were 5,000 unique visits to the website bluebrick.ie, a CAO-style one-stop shop for information on and applications to the courses available.
Since Springboard was launched in May, bluebrick.ie's monthly site traffic has grown from an average of 5,000 visits a month to over 57,000 visits in July alone.
The programme offers free higher education and training for jobseekers without affecting social welfare entitlements.
The Springboard courses, in 34 colleges, are geared to equipping people to work in areas of employment growth, such as medical devices, information technology and energy.
Springboard is open to those who already have a good educational background along with workplace experience.
Almost 5,000 individual applications have already been made for courses, some of which began over the summer, but most of which are starting in September.
Dr Richard Thorn, director of Flexible Learning, Institutes of Technology Ireland, said the growth in traffic on the bluebrick.ie website indicated an appetite for upskilling and reskilling in order to build on previous qualifications and improve job prospects.
BlueBrick.ie was set up last year in response to the growing demand for part-time courses in higher education. Originally developed for the institutes of technology, now universities are coming on board.
The website includes information on up to 1,000 courses, either allowing individuals to continue in their chosen career path by upskilling or to change completely through reskilling opportunities.
INSIDE: FREE SPRINGBOARD SUPPLEMENT