Entry criteria to Springboard Programme relaxed

People who are on the live register still have time to enrol in one of the free online courses starting at IT Sligo this September under the Government Springboard initiative.

Some places are available on courses in electronic engineering, environmental management, pharmaceutical studies and polymer processing.

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., announced this week that the requirement to be out of work for six months or more to access a Springboard programme is to be relaxed.  This includes people who have lost their jobs within the last six months and people who have been unemployed for much longer but have managed to find temporary work, for a few weeks or months at a time.  Under the original criteria a person had to be six months unemployed before they could commence a Springboard programme. 

All of the courses on offer through the initiative at IT Sligo are taught online and therefore present a good up skilling opportunity, regardless of where the potential student lives.

The Springboard Initiative is targeted at those who were previously working but lost their jobs or were made redundant and who, with some up skilling, could fill current or future job shortages. The initiative will allow those who undertake the courses to retain their benefits and, if they find a job, they will still be permitted and encouraged to finish their course.

IT Sligo is recognized as the national leader in online education and, with lectures delivered in real time in a ‘virtual classroom’ environment, students can enjoy the same quality interaction with their lecturers and classmates.

The Institute won the ‘Best in eLearning’ category of this year’s Digital Media Awards for its novel approach to online teaching of engineering laboratories. This technology is available on a number of the courses on offer through the Springboard Initiative, and provides students with on-demand access to remote laboratories.

Springboard Coordinator at IT Sligo, Brian Mulligan, said that online offerings from IT Sligo present a valuable opportunity for people all over the country to up skill; “Very little computer literacy is required to take up an online course and I would encourage anyone who has an interest in one of our courses, and is eligible to take part in the Springboard Initiative, to apply for a place.”
Induction days are provided and, while not mandatory, they offer students a good opportunity to meet with their lecturers and classmates before starting the course. “Should students be fortunate enough to be offered a job while doing one of our courses they also have the added advantage of being able to complete the course while taking up employment, because they’re not tied to a location,” he added.

Launching the Springboard Initiative, The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, TD said; “We have a very talented workforce, but the loss of employment in traditional sectors such as construction, manufacturing and retail has meant that many of these qualified and experienced people are now out of work. At the same time, we know that there are skills shortages in certain areas. By providing focused up-skilling and retraining programmes, such as those offered through Springboard, we can match those vacancies with a newly re-skilled workforce and get people back to work.”

The single web portal for all Springboard related activities is www.BlueBrick.ie. Information will also be available on all courses on offer at IT Sligo through Springboard at an Adult Education Open Evening at the Institute from 5pm to 7pm  next Tuesday, September 6th.

For more information contact 071 91 55222.

Image caption (top of page): Dr Billy Fitzgerald, Head of Department of Environmental Science and Brian Mulligan, Springboard Co-ordinator, IT Sligo pictured with Dr Mark Glynn from BlueBrick.ie at the launch of Springboard.

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