This page contains guidance on what Springboard+ offers and key information you need to know. We also have an FAQ list which will be updated with the most popular questions we get from users.
Note: The term ‘Springboard+ course’ refers to both part-time courses and ICT Skills conversion courses unless otherwise stated
1 - How many Springboard+ courses can an applicant apply for?Applications can be made online for a maximum of ten courses.
2 - Can someone do more than one Springboard+ course at the same time?Participants can only study on one Springboard+ course at a time.
3 - I was previously enrolled on a Springboard+ course but I left before completing it. Will this prevent me from applying for another Springboard+ course?A person who withdraws from a Springboard+ course before completion is, in general, not eligible to take up a place through Springboard+ 2016. However your application will be considered if your withdrawal from the course you were on was for a valid personal or medical reason. The decision to offer you a place is made by the college you are applying to and is subject to the college’s admissions policy and entry requirements. Where there is a high demand for courses priority will be given to those who have not previously benefited from a Springboard+ course.
The Guideline for providers regarding former Springboard+ participants who wish to take up a Springboard+ 2016 place can be found here: Guidelines on applications from previous Springboard+ participants 2016.pdf
4 - I was on a MOMENTUM course previously, am I eligible to apply for a springboard course?You are eligible if you fulfil the eligibility requirements and have successfully completed your MOMENTUM course including any required work placement elements.
5 - When do Springboard+ courses start?Springboard+ courses vary in start date but the majority begin from September 2016 on. The start date for each Springboard+ courses is included in each course information page on www.springboardcourses.ie.
6 - Are all Springboard+ courses a minimum of one year?With the exception of the two year ICT Conversion courses, Springboard+ courses, while varying in duration, are no longer than one calendar year in duration. Many courses run over one academic year. For full details please see the course information page on www.springboardcourses.ie.
7 - Can I do a Springboard+ course in any subject area?Springboard+ courses are specifically designed to meet current and future skills needs in Ireland. They do not cover all subject areas. 181 courses are available in the areas of information and communications technology (ICT); manufacturing; international financial services; internationally traded services, cross-enterprise skills; and entrepreneurship and business start-up. For more information check out www.springboardcourses.ie.
8 - What kind of jobs are Springboard+ courses designed for?Springboard+ upskills and cross-skills participants in sectors in which there are job opportunities.
9 - What happens if I get a job while participating on a Springboard+ course?Taking up a suitable job offer must take precedence over participation in a Springboard+ course, however, higher education providers have been asked to respond with as much flexibility as possible in instances where participants get a job before their course is complete. For example, a college may offer participants the option to study during evenings or at weekends.
10 - I have a disability and require additional accommodations; will these be available if I take up a Springboard+ course?It is a contractual requirement of providers that they ensure there is equality of opportunity for all learners in accordance with relevant legislation. The Equal Status Acts 2000-2008 require educational institutions/service providers do all that is reasonable to accommodate the needs of a person with a disability.
11 - The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is mentioned in the information on Springboard+. What is this?The NFQ provides a way to compare qualifications, and to ensure that they are quality-assured and recognised at home and abroad. See www.nfq.ie for more information.
12 - Are Springboard+ courses recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)?All Springboard+ courses are recognised on the NFQ and lead to a higher education award at either Level 6, Level 7, Level 8 or Level 9 on the Framework.
13 - Can I get recognition of my work-based experience and learning on Springboard+ courses?All Springboard+ providers are required to consider applicants for recognition of prior learning (RPL) or previous experience on the part of people with or without formal qualifications. Full details are provided with course information on www.springboardcourses.ie.
14 - I am unemployed and would like to go back to education and training, perhaps full-time. What options are available to me besides Springboard?There are a range of other education and training options available to people who wish to upskill or reskill.
Information on further and higher education courses is available at www.qualifax.ie, with more detailed information on individual college websites and in their prospectus. For specific information on financial support for further and higher education, please visit www.studentfinance.ie .
Other options include Momentum, which provides job-focused up-skilling at Level 5-6 on the national framework of qualifications. For information on other further education and training opportunities please visit the website of your local VEC for details of further education opportunities in your area or county. Each VEC administers the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) for unemployed people. There is also the Back To Education Initiative (BTEI) for people with less than upper secondary education. The Department of Social Protection run a National Internship Scheme, JobBridge, to help unemployed people, including new graduates, to get experience in the workplace. Further information is available at www.jobbridge.ie . The Department of Social Protection work placement scheme offers similar programmes to similarly qualified applicants and details of this can be found at www.jobbridge.ie.
15 - Can I make a Springboard+ application directly to a participating college?All applications must be made online through www.springboardcourses.ie
16 - I have accepted an offer of a Springboard+ place but now have changed my mind. Can I re-apply?If a participant has a change-of- mind after accepting a course offer s/he should immediately inform the relevant higher education provider prior to starting the course. If other providers are still receiving applications for Springboard+ courses it may be possible for a participant to re-apply for another Springboard+ place.
17 - If I am accepted on a Springboard+ course, do I receive any additional income support?Participation in Springboard+ does not confer an entitlement to receive an income support payment or a student grant. In the case of the one year full-time ICT Skills Conversion courses, participants who are in receipt of a jobseekers payment may be eligible for the Back to Education Allowance.
18 - Am I liable for any costs associated with participating on a Springboard+ course?There are no tuition fees for eligible Springboard+ applicants but any subsequent costs such as travel and course materials must be borne by the participant.
19 - What are the residency and nationality requirements for eligibility for ICT Skills Conversion courses?ICT Skills Conversion courses are specially targeted and funded to boost the domestic supply of Level 8 graduates in ICT in the short term to fill identified employment opportunities in the Irish labour market. Applicants to these programmes should comply with the nationality and residency rules. (a) Nationality
- Applications for admission to the ICT Skills Programme should be accepted from suitably qualified applicants who hold EU/EEA/Swiss nationality in their own right or who are:
- Persons who have official refugee status in this State. Time spent from date of official lodgement of application papers for refugee status will be included for the purpose of meeting the three year residency requirement; or
- Family members of a refugee who are granted permission by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform to enter and reside in the State under Section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996; or
- Persons who have permission to remain in the State as a family member of a Union citizen under the provisions of the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2006 and 2008 and Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council; or
- Persons who have been granted Humanitarian Leave to Remain in the State (prior to the Immigration Act 1999); or
- Be a person in respect of whom the Minister for Justice and Law Reform has granted permission to remain following a determination not to make a deportation order under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 or;
- Be a non-EU/non-EEA/non-Swiss citizen legally entitled to work full time in Ireland without having to seek an employment permit. These residents may be here as the spouse/civil partner or family member of an Irish or EU citizen and will have Stamp 4 or Stamp 4 EU FAM on their residence cards from Garda National Immigration Bureau.
- Applicants must have been ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA/Swiss state for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to the programme.
1 - Do Springboard+ courses also offer a work placement?Work placement is a feature of the vast majority courses. All full-time ICT Skills Conversion courses offer work placement. For further details consult individual course pages on the site.
2 - Do Springboard+ courses run during the day?Many Springboard+ courses have contact hours during the day. However the majority of courses are part-time and are designed to enable participants to continue to be available for and seek work. Some of the ICT Skills Conversion courses are intensive one-year courses and participants may be required to commit to essentially full-time study for one year. However, there are two year, part-time ICT Conversion courses designed to facilitate those who are already in employment. These courses may include a mixture of on-campus, online and/or distance learning.
3 - Is it possible to do a Springboard+ course through distance learning?Distance learning is a feature of many Springboard+ courses. Details of how the course is delivered is included in the information on individual courses, available on www.springboardcourses.ie
4 - I have a disability and require additional accommodations; will these be available if I take up a Springboard+ course?It is a contractual requirement of providers that they ensure there is equality of opportunity for all learners in accordance with relevant legislation. The Equal Status Acts 2000-2008 require educational institutions/service providers do all that is reasonable to accommodate the needs of a person with a disability.
5 - Are Springboard+ courses recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)?All Springboard+ courses are recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications and lead to a higher education award at Level 6, Level 7, Level 8 or Level 9 on the Framework.
6 - What is a special purpose/minor award/ continuing professional development award?Minor awards provide recognition for learners who achieve a range of learning outcomes but not the specific combination of learning outcomes required for a major award. These awards allow learners to build up units of learning at their own pace to meet their own needs.
Special-purpose awards are made for very specific purposes.
A continuing professional development award or supplemental award are for learning which is additional to a previous award. See www.nfq.ie for more information.
7 - I want to apply for a Springboard+ course at masters level, are there any particular requirements?Apart from entry requirements which are set by individual colleges, and may include recognition of prior experience and learning (APEL), to participate in a NFQ Level 9 (Post Graduate) course, a period of at least one year must have elapsed since an applicant completed a full time undergraduate degree course leading to a major award at level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications.
8 - I already have a higher education qualification. Am I eligible to apply for a Springboard+ course?In general,yes. Note: to be eligible for a place on a Level 9 (post-graduate) Springboard+ 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 National Framework of Qualifications. This requirement only applies for Level 9 courses.
9 - I am completing my full-time college education this year and don’t have a history of employment. Can I do a Springboard+ course?The target groups for Springboard+ part-time courses are people who have lost their jobs and are now unemployed and who need to upskill or reskill to help them to regain employment in the future. Springboard+ part-time courses are not intended for new or recent graduates. However, the target group for the one-year full-time ICT Skills Conversion courses are graduates (including recent graduates) with an honours degree in a cognate discipline, as well as the capacity and underlying aptitude to undergo an intensive programme of study and work-experience to acquire industry-relevant ICT and software development skills at level 8 of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). A range of other education and training options are available for graduates and others who are not in the priority group for Springboard+.
10 - I am a participant under one of the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund initiatives. Am I eligible to take up a Springboard+ course?As long as you fulfil the eligibility criteria as set out you may apply for an approved course.
11 - I already have a minor award at Level 7. Does that mean that I can enrol for a Springboard+ course at Level 8?Your previous education qualifications and your work experience will be taken into consideration by each higher education provider when making a course offer. Providers will make a course offer that, in their view, best matches the applicant’s abilities and potential to successfully participate and complete their course of study. Each higher education provider will also offer a range of orientation, study and career preparation supports for Springboard+ participants.
12 - I don’t have a Leaving Certificate. Will I meet the minimum academic requirements for a Springboard+ course?You may; academic requirements as determined by the higher education provider. Many courses provide for recognition of prior learning or experience on the part of people without formal qualifications. Full details are provided with course information on www.springboardcourses.ie
1 - How long do I need to be in receipt of a social protection payment to be eligible for a Springboard+ place?There is no requirement to be in receipt of a payment for a particular period of time prior to the start of a course.
2 - What social protection payments allow me to apply for a Springboard+ place in 2016?Please see ‘Am I eligible’ information on www.springboardcourses.ie for full information on participant eligibility.
3 - I used to be self-employed and do not qualify for a social protection payment. Am I eligible to apply?Yes, formerly self-employed people are eligible to apply for a Springboard+ place. Please see ‘Am I eligible’ information on www.springboardcourses.ie for full information on participant eligibility.
4 - I am unemployed but I'm not in receipt of any payment, can I apply for a Springboard+ course?If you have been signing for unemployment credits or you were previously self-employed, you are entitled to apply for a part-time course place under Springboard+. For ICT Skills conversion courses, you do not need to be unemployed to be eligible to apply, any suitably qualified individual is eligible. However, persons who are in receipt of a Jobseekers payment, including Farm Assist and Qualified Adults of Working Age, are not eligible for a place on the two-year, part-time ICT Skills Conversions courses. Please see ‘Am I eligible’ information on www.springboardcourses.ie for full information on participant eligibility.
5 - I am on a Disability payment, do I need to contact anyone in the Department of Social Protection about my Springboard+ application?If you are in receipt of a Disability Allowance you should contact your local social welfare office. The Disability Allowance section in the Department of Social Protection (D/SP) will confirm if you may retain your payments while on the course. Contact details for the Department of Social Protection Disability Allowance section are: Disability Allowance Section, Social Welfare Services Office, Ballinalee Road, Longford LoCall no. 1890927770
6 - I am claiming a One-Parent Family Payment and meet the eligibility criteria. Do I need to apply for the Part-time Education Option (PTEO) of the Department of Social Protection if I enrol on a Springboard+ course?Eligible Springboard+ applicants who are in receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment are not required to register for the Part-Time Education Option (PTEO). Only those in receipt of Jobseekers Benefit or Jobseekers Allowance are required to apply for the PTEO.
7 - I am dependent on a partner who receives a Jobseeker's Allowance but I am not in receipt of this payment myself. Am I eligible to apply?The spouse/partner of a person in receipt of a Jobseeker's payment is referred to as a Qualified Adult (QA), which is an eligible payment (with the exception of the two year ICT Conversion courses). Please see ‘Am I eligible’ information on www.springboardcourses.ie for full information on participant eligibility.
8 - If I am accepted on a Springboard+ course, do I receive any additional income support?Participation in Springboard+ does not not confer an entitlement to receive an income support payment, a student grant or the Back to Education Allowance. Please see ‘Am I eligible’ information on www.springboardcourses.ie for full information on participant eligibility.
9 - I am unemployed. If I am offered a Springboard+ course, do I need to inform my local Social Protection office?If you thinking of taking up a Springboard+ course, you are advised to let your local social protection office know of your plans, and to check whether you need to go through any further steps with that Departments’ services. For example, if in receipt of Jobseekers Benefit or Allowance you are required to apply for registration on the Part Time Education Option (PTEO) if taking up a part-time Springboard+ course. The PTEO form entitled ‘PTEO – Springboard+ 2016’ can be downloaded from here. An applicant for the one-year full-time ICT Conversion courses, who is receipt of Jobseekers Benefit or Jobseekers Allowance for at least nine of the previous twelve months, will need to apply to their Social Protection office to retain their income support under a bespoke version of the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA).
10 - My Social Protection payment is due to change shortly from Jobseeker's Benefit to Jobseeker's Allowance. If I take up a Springboard+ course, will this change to my Social Protection payment still occur?Participation on a Springboard+ course does not have any bearing on the duration of a social welfare payment. Participants must continue to satisfy the conditions of their payment. Please see ‘Am I eligible’ information on www.springboardcourses.ie for full information on participant eligibility.
11 - Does participation on a Springboard+ course guarantee continuation of my social protection payment?Participation on a Springboard+ course does not provide any guarantee of continuation of a Social Protection payment.
12 - If I do not complete a Springboard+ course, will this affect my Social Protection payment?Social Protection entitlements are not connected to the outcome of a Springboard+ course.
13 - Is the Part-Time Education Option (PTEO) the same as Back to Education Allowance (BTEA)?No, BTEA applies to full-time education. Springboard+ participants on part-time courses are not eligible for the BTEA.
14 - I am an eligible worker under one of the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund initiatives. Am I eligible to take up a Springboard+ course?As long as a person fulfils the eligibility criteria as set out s/he may take up the offer of a course.
15 - I have a job two days a week, and am in receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance - am I eligible to apply for a Springboard+ course?If you are in receipt of an eligible payment you may apply. Please see ‘Am I eligible’ information on www.springboardcourses.ie for full information on participant eligibility.
16 - Can I make a Springboard+ application if I have already participated in another government-funded training programme, such as the a FÁS scheme?Applicants who have completed a government-funded training programme, such as Momentum or a FÁS course, are eligible for Springboard+ as long as they meet Springboard+ eligibility criteria. Please see ‘Am I eligible’ information on www.springboardcourses.ie for full information on participant eligibility.
17 - I am in receipt of a Jobseeker payment and have been accepted onto a Springboard+ course, do I need to tell my local social welfare office?If you are in receipt of a Jobseekers payment you must contact your local social welfare office before enrolling in the course. What follows then will depend on whether you are taking up a part-time Springboard+ course or an ICT Skills Conversion course. For part-time Springboard+ course participants on a jobseeker payment, you should make an application to retain your payment under the Part Time Education Option (PTEO). The PTEO form entitled ‘PTEO – Springboard+ 2016’ is available for download and completion here. Under the PTEO you may only retain such payments for the duration of time that an underlying entitlement to a payment exists. For participants on the one year full-time ICT Skills Conversion courses, you may be eligible to retain your payment under the Back to Education Allowance if you have been in receipt of the jobseekers payment for a minimum qualifying period. See the 'Am I eligible' section of this website for further information.