EDUCATION: Thousands of free higher education places available to Cork people

14 August 2017
By Tom Collins

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Thousands of free higher education places are available to Cork people this year under Springboard+. The government programme, run by the Higher Education Authority, is aimed at upskilling and reskilling job seekers to work in growing enterprise sectors that need skilled personnel.

This year over 6,400 free places will be on offer nationwide. Homemakers are eligible to participate in Springboard+ courses for the first time this year and there is also wider availability for those in employment or self-employment who wish to upskill or reskill in the Biopharma/Medtech and ICT sectors.

Commenting on the programme, Dr Vivienne Patterson, Head of Skills and Engagement at the Higher Education Authority said: “Springboard+ courses are an excellent opportunity for anyone considering returning to work, reskilling or upskilling. There are courses in a vast array of sectors ranging from tech to culinary arts and from entrepreneurship to pharma.

“One of the most successful features of the Springboard+ programme is that 54% of the courses offer flexible provision. This includes blended learning, fully online (e-learning) courses and those that are done by distance education.

“This is a key factor for people in employment, homemakers and for those living in Cork and the wider area in allowing them to access courses they would not normally be able to.”

Success of Previous Springboard+ Graduates
Springboard+ has been successful at equipping people with the skills they need to get back into the workforce. Oxana Sereda completed the MSc in Computing through the Springboard+ ICT Skills Conversion Programme. Commenting on her experience, Ms. Sereda said: “I was at a stage in my life where I wanted to change careers and decided on venturing into the exciting world of cyber security. This was a life-changing decision for me, taken during a difficult time: I became a full-time student while also being a mother to two children – I had plenty to keep me occupied!

“The course itself was absolutely fantastic and everyone was always so easy to approach and willing to help which created a friendly and welcoming atmosphere that really put you at ease.

“The advice I would give to someone who is at a stage in their life where they realise that they want to work in a completely different field, have lost their job or simply just want to learn additional skills, is to just go for it! Don’t be afraid to return to education and change your life for the better and achieve your dreams.”

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