Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (678)

Pádraig MacLochlainn


678. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if his attention has been drawn to the fact that courses announced (details supplied) under the July stimulus package have not been offered at a reduced rate to students newly enrolled on the course in September 2020. [38746/20]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

Under the July stimulus package an additional funding allocation of €47.5m was provided for Higher Education skills-related programmes. The higher education elements of the July stimulus package were in three broad areas – further support for Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 (€10m), Funding for Postgraduate provision (€22.5m), and the provision of modular courses(€15m).

Springboard+ / Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1: Under the July Jobs Stimulus package an additional €10m of funding will provide 2,000 additional places on already approved courses, and courses that met the criteria for funding under Springboard+ 2020/HCI Pillar 1 but were not able to be funded under the previous funding allocation. This additional funding brings to 15,000 the total number of places available on both programmes. These courses have been entered onto the Springboard+ application system and are available through www.springboardcourses.ie.

Postgraduate Skills Provision: An additional 2,555 places will be provided on 207 existing part-time and full-time postgraduate taught programmes in 23 public and private higher education institutions.

The places are available on courses in a wide range of skills areas, including Data Analytics, Environmental Sciences, Engineering, Tourism and Hospitality, ICT & Health and welfare including Medical Technology.

Modular Skills Provision: Under the July Stimulus – Modular Skills Provision will provide for 11,597 places (which is equivalent to c 2,279 FTE places) on 538 modular courses in 32 higher education institutions. Courses are shorter and more focused and will be offered in a flexible manner, allowing people to gain important skills without taking a considerable period away from the labour market. They will represent a new route into lifelong learning, and provide upskilling and reskilling opportunities for those who need it, while ensuring that they remain close to the labour market.

It is important to note that the funding and additional places provided under the July Stimulus package is separate and supplementary to the usual intake on postgraduate courses.

With reference to the course referred to, I understand from information received from LYIT, that registration and induction of students for the additional places (as funded under the July Stimulus) will take place in December 2020 with the academic component commencing in January 2021. Applicants who apply and are approved for the additional places on this course will be able to avail of the supports being made available as part of the July Stimulus initiative.