Longford people urged to avail of over 100 free Springboard+ places available in Athlone Institute of Technology

News Reporter


News Reporter



Longford people urged to available of over 100 free Springboard+ places available in Athlone Institute of Technology

AIT is offering over 100 free higher education courses to people in the midlands and the wider area as part of this year’s Springboard+ programme, it was announced last week. AIT is among 39 education providers nationwide that have been selected to offer the free Springboard+ courses.

Springboard+ is the government programme aimed at upskilling and reskilling jobseekers to work in growing enterprise sectors that need skilled personnel. In total, 6,471 free places will be on offer nationwide under this year’s programme. AIT has in excess of 100 free places on offer on three programmes.

AIT has three Springboard programmes on offer, a Certificate in the Fundamentals of BiopharmaChem and Med- Technology (Level 6), a Certificate in Operations, Quality and Lean Management (Level 6) and a Higher Diploma in Science in Software (Cloud Application Development) - Level 8.

Lorraine Danaher, Regional Skills Manager, Midlands said that " Upskilling and further education are key to ensuring the Midlands remains a competitive Region. The Springboard offerings by AIT will help keep the Region in a highly competitive space and as a result will increase the retention of staff in industry and attract new investments."

For the first time, homemakers are eligible to participate in Springboard+ courses this year and there is also wider availability for those in employment or self-employment who wish to upskill or reskill in the Biopharma/Medtech and ICT sectors. The courses also remain open to jobseekers.

Dr Michael Tobin, Head of Department of Lifelong Learning commented that ‘this is a unique opportunity for those interested in pursuing part-time study commencing next term, as many will be eligible to avail of the free places on offer and they are in a sector that is growing in the Midlands, thereby increasing an individual’s opportunity for employment.’

Marcus Rahilly, Head of Department of Electronics & Informatics when commenting on why people should do the Higher Diploma in Science in Software ( Clould Application Development ) said, "This programme aims to equip graduates with detailed knowledge, and specialist architectural and technical skills required to design and implement cloud based solutions and services. It was developed to meet the growing demand for I.T. professionals with a deep understanding of concept and application of Cloud Computing. It provides students with the skills and expertise in Software Engineering including web and cloud application technologies."

Commenting on the launch of Springboard+ 2017, Dr Vivienne Patterson, Head of Skills and Engagement at the Higher Education Authority, said: “Springboard+ has built on the success of previous years and we are delighted to be able to offer a choice of almost 200 courses this year.

“One of the most successful features of the Springboard+ programme is that 54% of the courses offer flexible provision. This includes blended learning, fully online (e-learning) courses and those that are done by distance education.This is a key factor for people in employment, homemakers and for those living in the midlands and the wider area in allowing them to access courses they would not normally be able to.”

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD also commented on the new elements of Springboard+ 2017:“Springboard has been particularly successful at giving people the skills to get back into the workforce. 80% of Springboard participants (2011 – 2015) are no longer on the Live Register. This year we are expanding the programme to homemakers, and for some disciplines, to those in employment to meet specific emerging skills needs. Given the success of this innovative programme to date I am hopeful that we will be in a position to expand the Springboard+ model in the years ahead.”

Full details of the free places available in the Athlone Institute of Technology are available now at: www.springboardcourses.ie.