In 2013 the Government will fund up to 430,000 education and training places across the higher education, further education and training sectors. All of these places are open to unemployed people who wish to retrain or upskill and the provision also includes a number of targeted programmes that have been introduced with the specific aim of supporting jobseekers to retrain or upskill in key areas of labour market demand.
The Springboard programme provides free part time higher education places targeted at unemployed people who have lost jobs in sectors where employment levels will not return and who will need new qualifications and skills to re-enter employment. More than 10,000 places have been provided under the two rounds of the programme to date. A new call for proposals for Springboard courses was issued at the end of February and is expected to provide for an additional 5,000 places in 2013. 6,500 training places are also currently being rolled out for unemployed people under the Momentum programme. The training, which is aligned up to levels 5 and 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications, is targeted at areas of labour market demand and there is a particular focus on the needs of unemployed people under the age of 25.
In addition, as part of the joint Government-Industry ICT Action Plan, in February 2013 more than 760 new places were made available for jobseekers under the second phase of the graduate skills conversion programme. Furthermore, Skillnets, a state-funded, enterprise-led support body which arranges training based on the needs of industry, will target 8,000 of its training places specifically towards the unemployed in 2013.