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Question: I’m unemployed and I want to return to work. Are there free courses I can take to develop my skills so that I am more employable?
Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.
Courses are offered in different areas including information and communications technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.
The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level — levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.
You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie
If you are not getting a qualifying social welfare payment, you will have to meet the residency criteria for Springboard+.
You can also apply for a Springboard+ course if:
l You are a qualified adult of working age (under 66) on someone else’s social welfare payment
l You are signing for social insurance credits
l You are on an Employment support scheme such as Community Employment or TUS
To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply to up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.
If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.
If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/ covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo.
Citizens Information Centres are currently not open to drop-in callers. You can contact your local centre by phone or email for information and advice.
Information Officers are available to you at your local Citizens Information Service:
l Newbridge CIC Telephone: 0761 07 8300 email@example.com
l Maynooth CIC Telephone: 0761078100 firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also get information and advice from: The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm.
Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/call back to request a phone call from an Information Officer.
A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.
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