Is it worth doing a Springboard course?

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) today announced 6,100 college course places on the Springboard scheme. Springboard provides free, part-time places in higher education for people who are unemployed or previously self-employed in order to help them get back to work. Springboard students may be able to keep income supports while completing their course.

Courses are focused on areas of growing employment demand and can be from Certificate to Post Graduate level.  All courses are one year or less and many involve a work placement module. Getting experience in your field of study via an in-course placement is a valuable networking opportunity and has contributed to some courses achieving up to 90% employment within 6 months of graduates completing the course.

I have worked with many students who have completed Springboard courses and the feedback from them is extremely positive. Of course it is challenging to head “back to the books” after many years of work but course leaders and colleges offer good support for learners.  All courses must include a module on job seeking skills and help the students to prepare themselves for the round of job applications and interviews that should follow completion of the course.  Many of the participants I worked with had been self employed for most of their careers and had never either written a CV or attended a formal interview.  They found this practical part of the course very useful.

Courses are listed by provider and subject from today on the Springboard website .  The Springboard initiative has been up and running since 2011 and colleges will have access to past graduates from  most courses if you wanted to talk to someone who has been through the course and come out the other side.  Engage with the college, ask questions and make sure the course is the right one for you.  Skills Minister Ciaran Cannon commented recently that “94% of participants would recommend the experience to other jobseekers”.

Over half of the 2013 graduates were in full time employment or self employed within 6 months of completing their course.  It won’t work for everyone looking for a job but it’s definitely worth checking out what the options are for you.

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