If you are unemployed, you may want to continue your education or take part in a training course to develop your skills and improve your chances of getting back to work.
Springboard provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed. Most Springboard courses are part-time, but there is an increasing number of full-time courses available to certain participants.
If Springboard doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.
Springboard provides places for unemployed people on a range of part-time courses from certificate to master's degree levels - Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Most of the courses last for one year or less.
Courses are offered in information and communications technology (ICT), the green economy, pharmaceuticals, and international financial services. Programmes are also available in cross-enterprise skills and international selling.
Most of the courses start in September. Details on courses available and eligibility are on springboardcourses.ie.
In general, in order to qualify for Springboard you must be unemployed, with a previous history of employment, and you must be actively seeking work and available to take up work.
At the time of starting a Springboard course, you must either be getting a qualifying social welfare payment or be in one of the other eligible categories listed below. The qualifying social welfare payments are:
Other eligible categories
You can also apply for Springboard if:
You are also eligible for Springboard (with approval from a Department of Social Protection Facilitator) if you are on one of the following schemes or payments:
If you take up a Springboard course, you can keep your existing social welfare payment if you continue to fulfil the conditions for the payment.
You do not have to pay any course fees or charges while you are unemployed.
If you take up a job while on a course, Springboard will also fund the fees for the full academic year. If your course extends into another academic year(s) the amount of fees payable will be a matter for your college to decide.
If you are getting a jobseeker’s payment and participating on a part-time Springboard course you will continue to get your jobseeker’s payment under the Part-Time Education Option (PTEO). If you are on a full-time Springboard course you will transfer to a Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) - you must meet the qualifying criteria for BTEA.
If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your local social welfare office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. The Phone Service will operate Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm during January 2017. You can also visit your local Citizens Information Centre.