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Over 11,000 free or subsidised places on college courses have been launched at educational institutions across Ireland

Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science, and Niall Collins, Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, announced the news, confirming the courses are in “critical importance” areas such as cybersecurity, virtual reality, health innovation, logistics, and online retail. 

The minister indicated that a total of 11,213 spots on 357 courses will be provided throughout Springboard+ 2023 and HCI Pillar 1. 

Courses are free for the unemployed, formerly self-employed, and returners to the workforce, while the government covers the bulk of course prices for everyone else, with just a 10% contribution necessary.

“This is providing brilliant opportunities for people to upskill and reskill in areas of skills shortages, futureproof their careers, and progress in or re-enter the workforce,” Minister Harris said of the announcement. 

“Most programmes are delivered fully online or in a blended format, making them fully accessible and meeting our economy’s rapidly changing needs as well as our commitment to lifelong learning.” 

“This announcement helps us to ensure that our workforce is equipped to respond to the rapid changes in the world of work brought about by digitisation, with courses spanning areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, and Financial Technologies.” 

“They will also play a critical role in our response to the green transition by providing funding for programmes such as Climate, Sustainability, and Renewable Energy that will provide the skills needed to help us meet our ambitious 2030 targets for energy efficiency and decarbonisation,” he added. 

“It is critical that we all consider the opportunity to learn a new skill during this European Year of Skills.” Individuals and countries need skills and continual learning to flourish in an increasingly interlinked and changing world.

As stated by Minister Collins, the Springboard+ programme has benefited over 100,000 people to date. 

“This year marks the European Year of Skills, in which stakeholders across Europe will collaborate to promote investment in training and upskilling,” he stated.

“In this critical year, the HEA and higher education providers are delighted to offer courses that will prioritise reskilling and upskilling.”

“Because the Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 programmes are subsidised, the funded courses are available to a diverse group of people across the economy.” The programmes on offer will appeal to people seeking new skills to re-enter the workforce as well as those wishing to expand their skill set as our economy expands.” 

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