THE number of Springboard course places allocated to Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has been almost halved this year.
There was a 44% decrease in the number of free part-time education and training opportunities allocated to DkIT under the Springboard programme for 2017/2018.
The number of places on offer for 2017/2018 at DkIT stood at 69, down significantly from 124 places in 2016/2017.
“We started running two courses in September and will start running three more courses in January 2018,” said DkIT Springboard Administrator Anton Barrett.
“The programme has been running at DkIT since 2010 and it's been a very big success. It was a measure that was introduced at a time of high unemployment.”
DkIT is currently offering free places on five courses under the scheme for people who are unemployed and looking for work.
Homemakers are now also eligible to apply for all Springboard/ICT Skills courses. People in employment are able to apply for courses denoted with the 'Open to those in employment' courses.
Mr Barrett added: “When Springboard was launched unemployment stood at 15%, now it's around 6% so the programme is changing.
“The pool of unemployed applicants is shrinking so it's been widened to include homemakers and those in employment.”