Guide to SpringboardCourses.ie

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


SpringboardCourses.ie FAQs


What are the residency and nationality requirements that Returners and Employed applicants must meet to be eligible to apply to Springboard+ courses?

Applicants who are normally resident in Ireland should also meet the nationality and EU residency rules. They are:
Nationality
  • Applications for admission to Springboard+ courses (Incl. 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.
Residency
  • 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.
Note: The period of residency for holders of Stamp 4 or Stamp 4 EU FAM is calculated from the date of receipt of the Stamp 4. Any period of residency in the state before this date will not be taken into consideration.

I successfully completed a Springboard+ course in the past. Can I do another one?

No. However, if you are progressing to a higher-level award in the same academic discipline of your most recent course and still meet the eligibility requirements you may apply to undertake a further Springboard+ course. You should also note that priority will be given to those who have not previously undertaken a Springboard+ course. Please see guidelines on application from previous Springboard+ participants Here.

I have successfully completed my Springboard+ course. Can I undertake another one under the same academic year of Springboard+?

No. It is not permitted to undertake a second course in same academic year of Springboard+

I have unsuccessfully completed more than one Springboard+ programme since 2011. Am I eligible?

No. Springboard+ participants who have been unsuccessful on more than one Springboard+ course are not permitted to undertake further study as part of the Springboard+ programme.

I am eligible for a place on a Springboard+ course but my circumstances may change in the coming months. Can I continue my studies on the course if this happens?

Yes. All applicants to a Springboard+ course must be eligible at the time of course commencement but if your circumstances change you may continue to completion.

I am a Returner but I am not in receipt of a DSP payment. Am I eligible to do a course?

Yes. Courses offered as part of Springboard+ 2018 are open to Returners. Returners 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.

As a Returner, how do I verify my eligibility?

The applicant must show that they have been a Returner for a period of 12 months to be eligible. Applicants should sign a declaration before a Commissioner for Oaths attesting to your status. This form can be downloaded Here .

I am Returner with previous qualifications. Is progression a requirement for me to do a Springboard+ course?

Returners do not need to be progressing on their initial course.

I recently graduated (in the last 12 months) from a full-time, Level 8, Honours Degree Course. Am I eligible to do a Springboard+ course?

Recent Level 8 graduates must wait for a period of one year before they are eligible to do a Level 9 Springboard course. However, graduates may apply to do an ICT Skills Conversion course.

If I have enrolled on more than one Springboard+ programme in previous years am I eligible?

Participants who enrolled in more than one Springboard+ course since the inception of Springboard in 2011, and did not complete any course, are not eligible to apply in 2018. Please see guidelines on application from previous Springboard+ participants Here.

I am an EU citizen living outside Ireland, can I do a course?

No. Course participants must be living in the state and also meet the residency requirements.

Am I liable for any costs associated with participating on a Springboard+ course?

A 10% course fee contribution for Level 7, 8, and 9 courses is applicable for employed participants. This is payable directly to the provider. There are no tuition fees for DEASP customers or Returners but any subsequent costs such as travel and course materials must be borne by the participant. All Level 6 programmes are free to all participants.

How many Springboard+ courses can an applicant apply for?

Applications can be made online for a maximum of ten courses.

Can someone do more than one Springboard+ course at the same time?

Participants can only study on one Springboard+ course at a time.

When do Springboard+ courses start?

Springboard+ courses vary in start date but the majority begin from September 2018 on. The start date for each Springboard+ courses is included in each course information page on www.springboardcourses.ie.

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.

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. 245 courses are available in the areas of Information and Communications Technology (ICT); manufacturing; construction; international financial services; hospitality; entrepreneurship; business start-up as well as in many other areas. For more information check out www.springboardcourses.ie.

What happens if I get a job while participating on a Springboard+ course?

For those in receipt of a DEASP payment, 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.

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.

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.qqi.ie for more information.

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.

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.

Can I make a Springboard+ application directly to a participating college?

No. All applications must be made online through www.springboardcourses.ie.

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.

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.

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.

Do Springboard+ courses run during the day?

The majority of Springboard+ programmes are a form of blended learning. Therefore, there could be a mixture of on and off campus, online and/or distance learning courses. 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 also two-year, part-time ICT Conversion courses specifically designed to facilitate those who are already in employment.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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+.

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.

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.

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

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. However, for ICT Skills Conversion courses, applicants may need to satisfy additional DEASP eligibility criteria.

What social protection payments allow me to apply for a Springboard+ place in 2018?

Please see ‘Am I eligible’ information on www.springboardcourses.ie for full information on participant eligibility.

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.

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.

I am on a Disability payment, do I need to contact anyone in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) 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 Employment Affairs and Social Protection 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

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.

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.

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.

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+ 2018’ 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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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+ 2018’ 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.

I have a technical query, who can I contact?