Minister Canney welcomes free higher education places in Galway under Springboard+ 2017
Homemakers can apply for the First Time
GMIT and NUIG are among the third level education institutions where free higher education places under Springboard+ 2017 have been announced, Minister of State and Galway East TD, Deputy Sean Canney has said.
The courses are targeted at jobseekers and those in employment or self-employment who wish to upskill, reskill or cross skill in the Biopharma/Med Tech and ICT sectors. For the first time, homemakers are also eligible to participate in Springboard+ courses this year.
Incorporating part-time Springboard courses and full-time and part-time ICT skills conversion courses, Springboard+ 2017 will provide for 198 courses at public and private educational institutions across Ireland. Courses approved for funding will be in the following skills needs areas:

• Manufacturing which includes the Biopharma/Med tech sector
• Entrepreneurship,
• Hospitality
• Financial Services

There will also be a limited number of courses in Marketing (including digital marketing), specialist management courses (Food Business, Aviation and Technology Management), Animation and specialist Construction related courses.

“I am delighted that both GMIT and NUIG are on board and with the ongoing success of Springboard+ and its success in getting people back into employment in sectors where there are identified skills needs. When the initiative was first introduced in 2011 unemployment was at 15%. Unemployment has now dropped to 6.8% and over 200,000 more people are at work than in early 2012 when the launched the Action Plan for Jobs,” said Minister Canney.

“What particularly pleases me concerning Springboard+ is that it creates a greater diversity of learning opportunities beyond school. Springboard has been particularly successful at giving people the skills to get back into the workforce. 80% of Springboard participants (2011 – 2015) are no longer on the Live Register which is something that must be warmly welcomed.”

“This year the Springboard+ programme is being expanded to include Homemakers, and those in employment in the Biopharma/Med Tech sector to meet a specific emerging skills need.

Minister Canney said: “I am delighted to see that there will be a good mix of delivery modes of Springboard+ courses which will ensure that all participants, whether unemployed, in employment or homemakers will be able to avail of a suitable course. Under Springboard+ 2017, 54% of courses will be delivered on a blended, distance and e-learning basis”.

Since 2011 over €134m has been allocated to Springboard+ providing for over 35,000 places. The Springboard+ programme is managed by the Higher Education Authority, on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

Full details on Springboard+, together with the eligibility criteria and how to apply, are available on

A Freephone Guidance line is available to offer advice on course choices and applications on 1800 303 523