From June 2016 Springboard+ offers 5,855 free places on 181 courses leading to awards at certificate, degree and post-graduate level. Springboard+ is primarily targeted at jobseekers with a previous history of employment.
The majority of courses are part-time. To be eligible to participate on a part-time Springboard+ course an applicant must be a jobseeker.
Over 50 of the Springboard+ courses on offer are free, full-time or part-time conversion courses in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). These conversion courses are open to suitably qualified applicants, regardless of employment status. Applicants in receipt of a Jobseekers payment must meet additional DSP Criteria for full-time courses, but are not eligible for the two year part-time ICT Skills Conversion courses.
Be in receipt of one of the following payments from the Department of Social Protection:
There is no requirement to be in receipt of a payment for a particular period of time prior to the commencement of the programme. Participants in receipt of an eligible payment at the time the Springboard+ course commences are eligible to apply for a place on that course. However, providers will be required to give priority to applications from people who are long term unemployed.
To participate in a NFQ Level 9 (Post Graduate) course, a period of at least one year must have elapsed since completing a full time undergraduate degree course leading to a major award at level 8 on the NFQ.
*For the purposes of determining eligibility for Springboard+ the term unemployed also includes people who are on short term working and in receipt of a Jobseekers payment from the Department of Social Protection.
Through the Part-time Education Option (PTEO), jobseekers in receipt of Jobseekers Benefit or Jobseekers Allowance who wish to pursue a part-time day or evening course of education may retain their payment subject to continuing to meet the eligibility conditions, including being available for and genuinely seeking work. If a payment is due to cease prior to the end of a course, payment cannot be extended past the due cessation date.
The PTEO will continue to apply when a participant is undertaking a work placement of less than 6 months duration that is a specific component of a Springboard+ course.
Prior to commencing a Springboard+ course participants in receipt of Jobseekers Benefit or Jobseekers Allowance should contact their local social welfare office to make an application to retain their payment under the PTEO. The relevant Springboard+ PTEO 2016 form can be downloaded here. The PTEO scheme does not involve any special payment. Signing-on arrangements continue to apply for PTEO claimants. Attendance on part-time courses is allowed on the clear understanding that availability for and genuinely seeking work opportunities must take precedence over course attendance, including attendance at any work placement component of a course, should a conflict arise.
Participants in receipt of other forms of income support payment from the Department of Social Protection must contact the appropriate scheme area in that Department to confirm if they may retain such payments while on the course. See the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on www.springboardcourses.ie for more information.
Participants who meet the criteria for the JobBridge programme will be eligible for support under JobBridge. Further information on the JobBridge eligibility criteria is available at www.jobbridge.ie.
Suitably qualified, in line with the policy for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) of the higher education provider, or be someone with sufficient relevant experiential learning.
For the one-year full-time ICT Conversion courses you may be eligible irrespective of your employment status (i.e. whether you are employed or unemployed) and regardless of whether you are in receipt of income support from the Department of Social Protection.
For the two year part-time ICT Conversion courses you may be eligible if you are employed. If you are unemployed and in receipt of a jobseekers payment (including Farm Assist and Qualified Adults of Working Age) you are not eligible for the two year ICT Conversion courses. However, if you are in receipt of other social protection payments, e.g. One Parent Family or Disability Allowance, you may be eligible for the two year part-time Conversion programmes.
Tuition fees are waived for all successful applicants. The academic entry criteria for admission to courses funded through the initiative is determined by each participating higher education provider. However, it is essential that applicants assigned a place are capable of attaining the requisite (level 8) proficiency in high-level ICT skills.
Eligible DSP clients who are accepted on a course should immediately contact their local social welfare office and submit a completed BTEA-Springboard+ ICT conversion 2015 form which can be downloaded here. Participation on periods of work experience which are identified as an integral part of the course may also be pursued and supported under BTEA.
If you are in receipt of other forms of income support from DSP such as the One Parent Family payment you should contact your local DSP office to confirm if you are eligible to participate on an ICT conversion course and retain your income support.
Applicants who are previously self-employed and/or signing for social welfare credits are eligible to apply for a ICT skills conversion course but are not eligible for a payment under the BTEA scheme.