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Sponsored Feature: Springboard - a new beginning


Over 440,000 unemployed; skills shortages across the economy; people with time on their hands. Now more than ever a project is needed that helps workers who have lost their jobs to keep in touch with the world of work.

Now more than ever a project is needed to help people who have become unemployed recently to develop their skills and optimise their opportunities to get back into employment.

That project is Springboard, the new programme involving colleges and educational bodies around the country -- all of which are offering courses targeted specifically at such people.

Typically, they are people who have been working, who have skills, but who may need to upskill or change direction somewhat to give themselves the best chance of getting back to work.

If you are one of those people, this supplement is specially for you. This supplement has all the information you need to make Springboard work for you. It could be, literally, your springboard back to a job.

If you want to find out more about Springboard, this supplement will tell you:

* What it is.

* Who it is for.

* How it will benefit those who take part.

* What courses are on offer.

* How you can apply.


Springboard is a government initiative managed by the HEA on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

It provides funded part-time education and training opportunities for people who are unemployed but looking for work while also allowing them to keep any unemployment benefits they are eligible for.

The Springboard initiative has been developed out of the Labour Market Activation (LMA) fund piloted by the Government in 2010.

As well as the obvious benefits to individual participants, the development of the Springboard aims to enhance the skills profile of the workforce as a whole, in line with the National Skills Strategy.

In addition, it aligns with the objectives espoused by the Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS) to help address graduate unemployment:

* To develop employability skills.

* To foster career management learning.

* To promote entrepreneurship and innovation.