Free part-time and conversion courses

From June 2020 Springboard+ will offer over 11,000 free or subsidised places on 332 courses leading to awards at certificate, degree and post-graduate level. The majority of courses are part-time for a maximum of 12 months and are open to all applicants; Employed, Unemployed, and Returners who meet the eligibility criteria at the time of course commencement.

New in 2020

From June 2020 Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 offers 5,891 places on 93 graduate conversion courses over three years. The courses are full time, for a period of between 12 and 18 months depending on the course and lead to a higher education award at levels 8 or 9.

Places are available on courses in a wide range of skills areas, including artificial intelligence, smart factory technology, sustainable energy, medical device technology and cybersecurity.

The following are eligible to apply for courses in 2020/21 academic year (subject to the applicant meeting all requirements, e.g. academic requirements):

  • Returners
    • May apply to all courses if they meet the nationality/visa requirement and residency criteria.
  • People in employment
    • May apply to all courses if they meet the nationality/visa requirement and residency criteria.
  • The unemployed or formerly self-employed
    • All courses are open to these categories of applicants, with the exception of the two year part-time ICT conversion courses which are not open to those in receipt of a Jobseekers-related payment

Graduate with skills in growing sectors

All courses lead to qualifications in enterprise sectors which are growing and need skilled personnel, including information and communications technology (ICT); manufacturing; international financial services; for HCI Pillar 1 this includes artificial intelligence, smart factory technology, sustainable energy, medical device technology and cybersecurity.

and key skills for enterprise to trade internationally. Qualifications are also available in cross-enterprise skills such as innovation, enterprise/entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and project management.

Keep your social protection supports

Most Springboard+ courses are part-time, enabling you to keep social protection supports. However, a number of the courses available are ICT Conversion courses, which can be one year full-time or two year part-time. HCI pillar 1 courses are full time and run between 12 and 18 months. In relation to the one-year full-time courses those who are in receipt of a Jobseekers payment and satisfy Department of Social Protection criteria of being in receipt of a payment for 9 of the previous 12 months can apply for the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA). In relation to the two-year part-time ICT Conversion courses, those who are in receipt of a Jobseekers payment, or a Farm Assist payment, or a Qualified Adults of Working Age payment are not eligible for these two-year courses.

Please see Am I Eligible? for more details.

Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 are managed by The Higher Education Authority on behalf of The Department of Education and Skills.