The Springboard+ HCI Pillar 1 initiative provides free and subsidised higher education courses delivered by education providers across Ireland. We work closely with industry leaders to develop courses that provide the skills, knowledge and qualifications that are in demand in growing sectors across Ireland.
You could be eligible for a free or subsidised course whether you’re currently employed and seeking to progress in your career; formerly self-employed or unemployed and keen to reskill to explore new opportunities; a graduate interested in gaining a sector specific qualification; or you’re looking to return to the workforce after a career break caring for family or loved ones.
Wherever you’re starting from, a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course will provide the #SkillsThatWork for your future. We sat down with past learner, Carl Manzor to discuss his experience.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I completed a Bachelor of Commerce in NUIG in 2006 and majored in HR in the final year. I did a Master’s in Human Resource Management at University of Limerick in 2009 and then worked in HR from 2011 to 2016. The final HR role was with an IT company which sparked my interest in that field. I learned about the many interesting jobs in IT and realised the high demand for IT candidates.
So, after six years in HR I began to wonder whether I had gone down the right path or was it time to try something new. I left that job and spent some time researching whether to seek a new HR role or take a different path if that was possible. I did not really want to do another four-year degree so I wasn’t sure how I could make a career change.
Why did you decide to do a Springboard+ course?
I heard about the Springboard+ ICT courses and that they were fully funded for the unemployed. I decided that if I did a course and it did not go well, I would still gain good knowledge which would be applicable to IT recruitment or the business side of IT, like a Business Analyst role. It was a win-win situation for me.
I started the Higher Diploma in Software Development at University of Limerick (UL) in September 2017. Springboard+ made this attempted career change achievable as the course was fully funded due to my circumstances.
What was the experience like?
As I went in with limited coding experience, I found the course challenging. It was delivered through lectures, labs and quite practical continuous assessment. There was quite a mix of people in the class - those who had already gained experience working in IT and needed a qualification, people who had just finished college and were building on their degree, older people trying something new, and then people like me, looking to change career.
Although challenging, there were a lot of positives. I learned so much in that short period of time and got a pretty good foundation in IT, especially Java, which was the main programming language we learned. That experience is really what led to me getting a job with General Motors. The exams and projects were challenging, but I learned so much and got a 1:1 in the end. More importantly, I also realised that I had made the right decision to change to a career in IT.
How has the course changed your outlook/attitude to your career?
The Springboard+ course was the most important factor in my career change. The IT knowledge I gained from the course led to my current job at GM, which was facilitated by the connection between UL and the company. I got the job at GM before I had even completed my final exams and I started the week after finishing the course, which really illustrated the amount of opportunities in the field.
I have learned a lot since joining GM and have progressed from a junior developer to leading a project within the Advanced Systems Development (ASD) team in the Limerick office. The ASD team has also grown a lot in the last few years. It’s great to be part of it and I learn something new literally every day. Doing the Springboard+ course made all this possible.
What would you tell someone thinking about doing a Springboard+ course?
I would say GO FOR IT! Do your research and try to ensure you’re picking the right course for you, because the courses and delivery can vary from place to place. If you successfully complete the course, there are many and varied job opportunities in IT.
For me, it’s a no-brainer for someone looking to change career because you can retrain with limited risk. I would have no hesitation in recommending Springboard.
Find out more:
For more information on courses available through Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1, visit www.springboardcourses.ie
or freephone 1800 303 523. Keep an eye out on our social media for updates on course places.