Jobseekers from Louth and the northeast who lost their jobs during the recession are boosting their prospects of returning to work by starting specially-designed third-level courses at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) this month. In July there were 58,133 people on the Live Register.
The places are offered through the state-funded Springboard programme managed by the Higher Education Authority for the Department of Education.
The places are free to those who qualify and the courses – most of them started on Monday Sept 22. They are delivered flexibly, allowing jobseekers retain their benefits and continue their search for employment.
The skills taught on the programmes have been specifically selected to match the current job market and concentrate on areas where there is existing and projected growth.
The part-time Springboard-supported programmes getting underway at DkIT are Certificate in Business in Digital Marketing and Digital Media Management (Level 7); Certificate in 3D for Games (Level 7); Certificate in 2D and 3D Digital Animation Production (Level 7) and Diploma in Food & Agribusiness Excellence (Level 8).
Anton Barrett, Head of Lifelong Learning, DkIT, said: “The Springboard programmes offer a real ‘win-win’ in that the graduates are better equipped to secure sustainable employment while employers in Dundalk and the northeast have access to a larger talent pool who’ve acquired very relevant and up-to-date skills within a short space of time. All of the subjects covered on these courses align with the skills employers tell us they want from graduates so those who complete them are in a strong position to compete in the jobs market.
Among those taking the first steps on Springboard at DkIT two years ago was Ann Osborne O’Hagan who – despite excellent qualifications – had found it difficult to secure full-time work as a secondary school teacher. Now pursuing a PhD at the Institute, Ann began the Higher Diploma in Computing in 2012.
“The whole process of applying for the course was very simple and I would recommend Springboard and DkIT to anyone who feels they could benefit from a further qualification. The programme has allowed me to upskill and to really understand current technology.”
Paddy Matthews, President, Dundalk Chamber said Springboard brings hope for an early return to work.