Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (257)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

257. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to allow fee discounts, or fully funded places, on part time university run FETAC Level 7 certificate courses to allow funded access for those in receipt of social welfare payments who are trying to upskill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30259/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Springboard programme strategically targets funding of free part-time flexible higher education courses for unemployed and previously self-employed people in areas where there are identified labour market skills shortages or employment opportunities. All Springboard courses lead to an accredited higher education or training award at level 6 (Certificate) to level 9 (Masters Degree) on the National Framework of Qualifications.

Since it was first launched in 2011, the programme has supported more than 10,000 unemployed people to undertake part time higher education courses in areas such as ICT, Pharamchem and International Financial Services.

Under Springboard 2013, which I launched on 21 June, an additional 6,000 places are being rolled out on over 200 different courses in public, private and not-for-profit higher education providers around the country. To be eligible for a place on a Springboard course a person must be unemployed, actively seeking employment, and be in receipt of one of the qualifying Department of Social Protection payments or be signing for credits or be previously self employed. Further information on Springboard 2013 is available on the dedicated information and applications website: www.springboardcourses.ie. Information and advice is also available to prospective students at the Springboard freephone guidance service on 1800 303 523.