Who is Springboard for?
The primary aim of Springboard is to target those who may never have pursued qualifications beyond FETAC level 6 and who have previously been involved in sectors that are now in decline.
These sectors include construction, manufacturing and retail.A second group identified as needing support through Springboard are those who may have a qualification up to National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Level 9 but who need upskilling or re-skilling to help them back into employment. The NFQ framework allows the level of your qualification to be compared with others both nationally and internationally.
WHY DO I NEED TO UPSKILL OR RESKILL?
Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show a strong positive correlation between educational attainment and levels of employment.
Unemployment remains highest amongst those with the lowest level of qualification. Figures for 2010 show that those with no qualifications beyond the Leaving Certificate are more that twice as likely to be unemployed than those with a third-level degree.
While the rate of increase in unemployment has slowed, a significant drift into long-term unemployment is now emerging. The European Commission defines the long-term unemployment rate as the share of unemployed persons for 12 months or more in the total number of active persons in the labour market.
Active persons are those who are either employed or unemployed. Using the above definition, figures for the Republic of Ireland show that 51.5pc of all unemployed persons are now long-term unemployed.
WHAT SECTORS ARE SHOWING THE GREATEST SKILLS SHORTAGES?
Want to increase your chances of getting a job? One obvious way is to head into an area in which you know there is a skills shortage and therefore jobs to be had. Those with the right skills will benefit first and most when the economy begins to pick up again.
Forfas, Ireland's policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation is the organisation charged with identifying skills shortages within the economy.
The recent Forfas report, which shaped the focus of the Springboard programme, highlighted skills gaps in the following sectors:
* Financial Services
In addition, it anticipated future skills gaps in the following sectors:
n Cloud Computing
* The Green Economy
* Bio-Pharma and Pharmachem
* Food and Beverages
* International Financial Services
* Irish Medical Devices
* Wholesale and Retail Springboard offers participants a unique opportunity to exploit career opportunities in these areas by developing the skills most in need within enterprises around the country.
A word of warning -- don't target an area just because you think there will be jobs in it.
If you are unemployed, being offered a place on a Springboard programme is a great opportunity to revitalise your career and give you a fresh start.
In parallel with improving your skills levels, an equally important consideration is to make sure that you are interested in and love what you do.