Springboard+ began in 2011 as part of the Government’s Jobs Initiative. Its aim is to provide free and heavily subsidised upskilling and reskilling opportunities through higher education in areas where there is an identified skills need. A particular emphasis of the initiative is upskilling people who are unemployed or in receipt of a social welfare payment.
Springboard+ complements the core State-funded education and training system and is one of a number of initiatives designed to support people back into employment, improve the skills of those in employment, and to build the supply of skilled graduates to meet current and future skill needs of the Irish economy.
Springboard+ also forms part of the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland 2019 which has as a central objective of how to plan for an Irish economy of the 21st century. The further development of skilled workers remains central to attracting ongoing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the further development of our Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a considerable impact on the Irish economy and society. Significant supports have been introduced by the Government during the crisis, including the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (later replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme).
The COVID-19 adjusted unemployment rate for December 2020 was 20.4% for all persons including those on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) have indicated that economic activity will return to normal during the latter part of 2021, however the unemployment rate will average at 15%. With this in mind, Springboard+ in 2021 continues to have a dual focus of upskilling and reskilling people who remain out of the workforce and on upskilling those in employment.
Springboard+ is managed by The Higher Education Authority on behalf of The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.