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How Springboard+ helped Caroline find her dream job What skills areas have exciting job opportunities? Freephone

1800 303523

Free courses nationwide!

5,825 places!

From tourism to tech, discover the Springboard+ course for you at www.springboardcourses.ie @springboardhea


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Irish Independent I Thursday 4 August 2016

Contents

Free Springboard+ events in Dublin & Cork

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Spring into life

If you’re currently unemployed and want to develop new skills to kick-start your career, then here’s why Springboard+ may be for you

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What’s hot in employment

We go behind-the-scenes to discover the current skills shortages in the economy

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Minister of Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D.

Transforming lives

Springboard+ course 80 per cent of Springboard+ participants listings

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Starting afresh

We speak to past Springboard+ participants about how their course of choice changed their lives for the better

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Finding the right course for you

Springboard+ guidance counsellor, Joan O’Reilly, talks about the importance of researching your options when choosing the Springboard+ course that is right for you

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Ten things you need to know before applying to Springboard+

A list of questions you should ask yourself before applying

A BeCreative Editorial Production www.becreative.ie EDITOR: Clodagh Dooley CONTRIBUTORS: Patricia Madden, Ben Murnane ADVERTISING: Philip Wharton (01) 705 5445 DESIGN: Robert Armstrong INM Design Studio, Belfast REPRO: Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1

since 2011 are no longer on the live register, writes Minister of Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D.

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t the heart of what the Government is trying to achieve is to use our economic success to make life a little easier for people. Education is key to this ambition. Springboard+ has the potential to transform people’s lives. New data from the Department of Social Protection shows that 80% of those who have participated on a Springboard+ course since 2011 are no longer on the Live Register. Over 30,000 people have already taken courses in areas as diverse as ICT, financial services and high level manufacturing. A recent survey of all Springboard+ graduates shows that within three to six months of completion of a course, over half of them are employed or selfemployed. I have seen firsthand the positive impact participation on these courses can have and I recently met some inspirational graduates at the launch of this year’s Springboard+ offering. This year, we are providing nearly 6,000 free places on 180 courses in 36 education institutions, across all the regions. Around 1,000 places are being made available through online and distance learning. All these courses are providing opportunities to upskill or reskill for jobs in sectors of the economy that are growing. Springboard+ reflects a commitment in the Programme for Government to deliver a step change in our capacity to educate, develop, deploy and retain talent. Springboard+ has a dual purpose: It provides individuals with the opportunity to quickly acquire skills that are relevant to the labour market and provides employers with the opportunities to help design and deliver courses that are relevant to their needs. It connects people and businesses in a very tangible way. Building bridges between education and training and the community is a key priority for me as Minister and I intend to ensure we use innovative models and incentives to encourage further responses to skill needs and strong partnerships between the higher education sector and enterprise. Thankfully, the jobs market is continuing to improve with 155,000 additional jobs created since we launched our first Action Plan for Jobs in 2012. The unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of over 15% to 7.8%, its lowest level since 2008. However, there can be no room for complacency. As Minister for Jobs, I launched an Action Plans for Jobs in every region in the country, with ambitious targets for job creation in every region. The Government’s overall ambition is to support the creation of an extra 200,000 jobs by 2020, of which 135,000 will be outside of Dublin, leading to more people at work than ever before. Providing high quality, relevant education and training opportunities will be

key to delivering on that ambition and I’m determined to ensure that we do just that. One particular area I would like to highlight is ICT related jobs. There are a wide range of ICT related jobs and careers available to suit all interests and abilities in sectors across the whole economy. These skills are in high demand. A recent survey of ICT Conversion Course graduates indicates that 75% of graduates are in employment within three to six months of completing their course. Many people who have never worked in this area before have successfully completed courses and got jobs at the end of it. A recent survey shows that fewer than 20% of those enrolled on ICT Skills Conversion courses came from a traditional ICT background. I’d strongly encourage people to consider taking an ICT related course and there are over 2,750 places available through Springboard+ this year. As a Government we want to ensure that our economic success improves people’s lives. Participation on a free Springboard+ course really does open doors and create opportunities for individuals to improve their lives.

wo regional showcase events will take place later this month to provide information for people interested in participating in Springboard+. The first event will take place in the Printworks building in Dublin Castle on Tuesday, 16th August. Two days later, on Thursday, 18th August, Cork’s Metropole Hotel will host the second showcase event. Both events will run from 12 noon to 5pm. The educational institutions that provide Springboard+ courses will have stands at both events, providing information on the courses they offer. Employers that have hired Springboard+ graduates in the past will attend, and will be available to discuss upcoming job opportunities in their companies. The Higher Education Authority will also be present at both events, with HEA staff on hand to answer any questions attendees have about Springboard+. Perhaps most valuable of all, there will be dedicated guidance counsellors at the events, providing tailored advice to individual attendees about the range of options open to them under Springboard+. “Really useful events” Commenting in advance of the regional showcase events, Alan McGrath of the Higher Education Authority said: “The showcase events take place every year, and they’re really useful for people who might be considering a Springboard+ course, but who would like to find out more about what that entails and about whether or not they’re eligible. “Hundreds of people attend the regional showcases every year. The events give them a chance to meet the educational institutions that provide free Springboard+ courses and to find out if any of the courses on offer are of interest to them, or suit their particular upskilling needs. “We usually run workshops with employers at the regional events too. Attendees can come along to hear how some of the most exciting companies in Ireland are hiring Springboard+ graduates and to find out more about the types of skills that employers are looking for today. “One of the most popular stands at every showcase event is the guidance stand, where we have trained counsellors on hand to chat to attendees and answer very specific questions that individuals might have. This is an invaluable service. It allows people to check if they’re eligible for Springboard+ and also to get professional advice about what type of course might best suit them, based on their areas of interest, their previous experience and their future plans.” “Open to all and free to attend” Mr McGrath said the events are open to all and encouraged people not to be shy about coming along. “The great thing about Springboard+ is that there is a huge array of free courses on offer, ranging from tech to tourism and from culinary arts to manufacturing skills. No matter what your previous experiences of education or work, you should be able to find a course that suits you. And best of all, all Springboard+ courses are designed to give you skills that are in high demand amongst employers and to further your chances of getting a great new job once you complete the course. “The showcase events are open to all. Entry is free, and no registration or sign-up is required. I would encourage anyone thinking about upskilling or finding a great new job to come along to either the Dublin or Cork event to find out more.” For up-to-date information on the regional showcase events over the coming weeks, go to www.springboardcourses.ie


Thursday 4 August 2016 I Irish Independent

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Innopharma College of Education – how over 70 per cent of their graduates are back into work in high-demand pharma, medtech and food manufacturing industries

What does it take to deliver highly effective upskilling programmes that will result in over 70 per cent of participants gaining employment six months post course completion?

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hat is a question that Innopharma College of Applied Sciences has answered over the years it has been involved with Springboard+ programmes. The top reasons they have identified as key to their success are:

Providing industry-relevant courses for skills that are in short supply

Ireland is experiencing a critical skills deficit in Industries key to our economy – particularly in advanced manufacturing (pharma, medtech and foodtech). Indeed, the availability of such “talent” has been identified by the Department of Education and Skills as a “key selling point for Ireland in attracting foreign direct investment to locate in Ireland”. Since 2010, Innopharma College of Applied Sciences has developed programmes specifically for the pharmaceutical, food technology and medical devices industries. They were the first providers of industryled upskilling courses for these sectors in Ireland, where they successfully transitioned unemployed engineers, scientists and architects from the decimated construction sector.

Developing programmes that industry want and need

Innopharma’s training programmes have all been designed in conjunction with industry partners, as well as representative bodies like Ibec. Extensive consultation of programme content is undertaken with industry-leading experts – including several executives from large multinationals employing staff in Ireland.

Putting in place a tailor-made process and team for successful upskilling for industry

Innopharma employ over 40 staff and over 50 associate lecturers and industry professionals all over Ireland. With student coaches supporting course participants, industry

experts delivering the training, and industry liaison specialists engaging with companies on a daily basis, they have developed a highly successful tailor-made process and team for successful upskilling for industry.

Offering courses to cater for all skills levels

Innopharma’s courses cater for all industry needs and skills levels from Level 6 (postLeaving Cert) through to Masters (MSc) qualifications – many of which are available through the Springboard+ programme.

Delivering programmes where they are most needed

There are over 4,000 manufacturers throughout Ireland, with 82 per cent of these based outside the Dublin region. As the second largest employer in Ireland, demand for a skilled workforce for the manufacturing sector continues. Being able to offer courses regionally is critical – Innopharma offer training programmes in regional centres throughout Ireland, including Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Clonmel, Waterford and Athlone.

In 2015… • Over 800 participants undertook Innopharma’s courses across the country. • Over 600 of these graduates found jobs in high-end manufacturing where they may otherwise have remained unemployed. • Many of these 600 jobs went to jobseekers who were long-term unemployed. Innopharma have the knowledge, capabilities, strategies and team to deliver increased employment levels for Ireland by increasing the output of high-value STEM graduates for high-value jobs through their Springboard+ programmes. To transform your job prospects, check out Innopharma’s range of courses on offer at www.innopharmalabs.com/education


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Irish Independent I Thursday 4 August 2016

Spring into life!

If you’re currently unemployed and want to develop new skills to kick-start your career, then Springboard+ may be for you

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hen you’re searching the job market, the best possession to have in your back pocket is skill. It is your skills and abilities which will help you climb the career ladder. With this in mind, it makes sense to invest in expanding your skillset.

Open opportunities

The jobs market in Ireland is improving rapidly and there are a number of sectors that are booming and where jobs are available. Springboard+ programmes are specifically based on areas of the economy where there are not enough people with the right mixture of skills to fill the available jobs. This year, Springboard+ courses are available in 36 colleges nationwide and offer 5,825 FREE places on 180 courses at certificate, degree and postgraduate level. The 2016 courses cover the following key areas:

• • • • • • •

Information technology Biopharma Medical device technology Entrepreneurship International financial services Tourism and hospitality Construction, and more

As well as their previous employment

or education experience, Springboard+ participants are adding new skills and knowledge to their career in a new sector. Equipped with the relevant skills to drive businesses forward, graduates will emerge with cutting edge cross-enterprise skills, business start-up and entrepreneurship skills, export sales skills and key technological skills. All the while, career advice and coaching are available to help participants in their job search. So whether you are looking to move into information and communications technology, the bio-pharma industry or tourism and hospitality, Springboard+ can put you on the path to full-time employment. All providers of Springboard+ courses have established quality assurance systems. This means that each college has worked closely with local, regional, national and multinational employers to ensure that their course content is up-to-date, fit for purpose, and will prepare graduates to take up exciting new employment opportunities. Turn to page 6 for inside information on the types of careers that are in demand from those connected to today’s thriving industries, as well as the top skills that employers are looking for.

you can mix learning from the comfort of your home with meeting new people during group meet-ups! Most of the courses require one of the following: for participants to be in receipt of a Department of Social Protection payment, or to be previously self-employed, or to be signing for social insurance contribution credits. All courses (with the exception of the twoyear ICT conversion courses):

• Are 12 months or less in duration. • Are accredited and graduates will be awarded a higher education or training award at Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). • The vast majority include a work placement as part of the course. • A new offering this year will be part-time ICT conversion courses complementing the fulltime conversion courses, available to those in employment seeking to upskill or reskill (see below for more details on ICT conversion). • ICT conversion programmes are available to all people who meet the academic criteria, irrespective of their employment status.

Over 30,000 people have taken a Springboard+ course in the past five years with over half of them 75% of those who back in employment in only three to six months following their course, did ICT conversion contributing to the development of courses in 2014/15 a skilled workforce in Ireland that were in employment will help build a sustainable future 3-6 months after for participants and the country as a finishing their whole. For a listing of courses which are course. available, turn to page 10 or you can search for detailed course outlines online at www.springboardcourses.ie

Did you know?

What suits you

The vast majority of the courses are part-time, which provides the opportunity for flexible learning, and many places are available via online or distance learning. This means

ICT Conversion Programmes As you may know, Ireland is a hub for some of the biggest technology companies in the world. In addition, the IFSC (International Financial Services Centre) is home to some of the biggest financial services companies. You may also be aware that there is a well-publicised shortage of skills in the IT industry. Employers often struggle to find people with the right qualifications to fill the vacancies that they have. To help ‘plug that gap’ Springboard+ includes what are known as ICT conversion courses. These are courses which allow you to convert your original qualification into a Level 8 ICT qualification. The following is a sample of the types of areas conversion courses cover: • • • •

Software development Data analytics Web development Cloud and mobile applications developments • Fintech • Cybersecurity There are almost 2,000 FREE ICT conversion places available on a range of courses. The courses are available on a full-time one-year basis for jobseekers and those in employment, and are also available, for the first time, on a two-year part-time basis. People in receipt of jobseeker payments are not eligible for the two-year part-time courses. Most of the conversion courses require that you have a previous qualification in a related area. The opportunities for graduates of conversion courses are enormous and in the past few years these graduates have made the move into exciting and challenging roles in the IT sector, many of them hired while they were still completing their course! Visit www.springboardcourses.ie for further information


Thursday 4 August 2016 I Irish Independent

SPRINGBOARD+ I 5

It’s never too late to learn a new skill!

Sean Walsh from Tallanstown, Co Louth proves the value of Springboard+ courses in providing people with a second chance at higher education

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espite having to deal with the effects of undiagnosed dyslexia at school in the 1970s and missing out on third level education as a result, Sean managed to carve out a successful career, first as the owner of his own transport business for 20 years and then as a Customer Service Supervisor and Senior Traffic Operator with P&O Ferrymasters in Dublin Port for 18 years. When P&O closed the Dublin office in August 2015 to move to Larne, Sean knew it was time to make his own move into a completely different area. Sean has always been a lifelong learner and even when working full-time with a growing family, he attended work-related evening and adult learning courses, constantly updating his skills, with the result that he earned numerous accreditations and certificates. It was his life skills, ‘can do’ attitude and keenness to learn, together with his track record in lifelong learning, that impressed Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) enough to offer him a place on the Springboard+ course of his choice, the Level 7 Certificate in Digital Marketing and Digital Media Management. Sean is an unpaid director of Lensmen, one of Dublin’s leading photographic and videographic

agencies. Established in 1952, Lensmen boasts an extensive image collection of historical note and in 2012 it set up a sister company, Irish Photo Archives, to manage it, which is overseen by Sean. He says, “I was drawn to Digital Marketing because photo agencies have now evolved to include videography, an essential part of digital marketing communications. It also links in with a project close to my heart, the transfer onto digital of the images in Irish Photo Archives. They were taken at almost every key Irish event so it’s an historical treasure trove of visual memories.” Sean became involved in the project while working full-time at P&O and when the redundancy came, he decided to use the opportunity to learn a new skill and DkIT’s Digital Marketing course

Sean Walsh seemed like a natural progression for him. Not only did he find himself thoroughly relishing the challenges of the course, he also discovered support for his dyslexia as well. Speaking about his experience on Springboard+, Sean says, “I wasn’t expecting written exams and it set me back a bit because of my dyslexia,

which of course, I had said nothing about because I was so used to hiding it, a legacy of my schooldays and the fear that it would hamper me getting work. When my son found out, he soon helped me and once I told the college, the support they gave me was exceptional. There were no more written exams as I was able to use a PC so I flew it after that!”

Passion

THERE IS DEFINITELY SCOPE IN WORKING WITH AFFILIATES TO ESTABLISH A NICHE TOURISM BUSINESS

Sean still has a passion for transport and is now looking at where he could combine this with his newly acquired skills. “I’m continuing to work on the photo archives but I also love where I live and it has some wonderful areas that are completely overlooked by Irish and international tourists. I think there

is definitely scope in working with affiliates to establish a niche tourism business and that is going to be my next project.” Dundalk Institute of Technology is a strong supporter of the Springboard+ initiative and this year is offering 124 places on eight part-time education programmes through its Lifelong Learning Centre. Courses span a range of academic levels and cover areas such as Digital Marketing, Food Supply Chain Operations, Agri-business, Digital Animation, Games Design and Computing. For full details of DkIT’s suite of Springboard+ programmes visit www.dkit.ie/springboard or contact Ms Rita Mathews on 042 937 0295


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Irish Independent I Thursday 4 August 2016

What’s hot in employment

With a number of industries developing strongly in Ireland, there is continuing demand for skills which are not available to the level required within the workforce. We step behind-the-scenes to discover exactly what some of the skills shortages are

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he key thing about Springboard+ is that the type of courses we provide are specifically related to areas where we know there are skill shortages right now,” explains Alan McGrath, Senior Manager of Skills and Engagement at the Higher Education Authority (HEA). “Each year the skill shortages in the Irish workplace are identified by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN). We will then issue a competitive call to higher education providers for courses in these skills areas.” So what are some of the areas you should be looking to upskill or reskill in for employment this year?

Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

The overall employment growth within the ICT sector in recent years has been very positive, with demand for a range of ICT skills. Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world, accounting for more than €50 billion in exports per annum. With global leaders such as Intel, IBM, Microsoft and Apple having long-established operations in Ireland, as well as newer leading-edge giants such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay and Amazon, Ireland has successfully attracted eight of the top 10 global IT companies to establish a significant presence here. “The opportunities for ICT graduates are very exciting – ICT is an evolving industry,” says Alan. “It’s constantly pushing itself further and further. However, key skills for the ICT sector continue to be the most frequently mentioned as difficult to source by companies. There is a high demand for a wide range of software developers and those with high-level data analytical skills, which involve the analysis, interpretation, utilisation and transition of raw data into useful information. There’s a large number of other sectors, from retail to financial services, dependent on IT systems – they’re all competing for the same skilled people and at present we don’t have enough of them.”

Skills for manufacturing: Biopharmaceutical Ireland is home to nine of the top 10 global

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Dr Caroline Murphy, lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics (Higher Diploma in Data Analytics) at Maynooth University, says: “Huge volumes of data are collected every day in sectors such as healthcare, finance and food science so graduates with the skills to analyse this data are in huge demand. Any company in the world is doing some element of data analytics, for example Netflix. On one of their high-profile series, “House of Cards”, they did a lot of background work, collecting data about their clients in which they found a lot of people using Netflix liked Kevin Spacey and also political dramas. So effectively they put the two together and generated profit. Netflix captures important viewer data through a variety of analytic streams to determine which types of content to create. “Data analytics is used in many banks or supermarkets in order to understand customers, what products they purchase and how to improve services they are offering. The Higher Diploma in Data Analytics here at Maynooth includes modules on programming, statistical methods and databases with a strong emphasis on real-world data – it’s very much a skill that will complement any sector. If you have some underlying pharmaceutical or medical sales skills, you can combine that with data analytics skills and become a really desirable person in terms of your workforce employability.”

pharmaceutical companies and this sector is worth a total of €12.6 billion to the Irish economy. Named the seventh largest exporter of medical and pharmaceutical products in the world in 2014, Ireland has over 75 pharmaceutical companies operating here today. “The biopharma sector is expected to grow in the short-term by 5,000 jobs between 2015-2018,” says Alan, “and manufacturing excellence in Biopharmaceuticals is a hallmark of Ireland’s success in the sector. Some of the biggest recruiters in Ireland today include Pfizer, BioMarin, MSD and Regeneron and many of the biopharma companies hire people with specific skills in manufacturing. High-end plants, which are at the cutting edge of manufacturing, are used to develop new drugs in different medicines. There is a significant regulatory role around biopharma, which includes the efficacy and safety of biopharmaceutical products, and there are skill gaps within this area.”

Financial Services

“Ireland has an exceptionally strong international financial services sector and there are opportunities for graduates in this area,” says Alan. “The sector is seeking those who have strengths in regulation and compliance, administration and management of funds. The sector has become more digitised in recent years so companies are competing for those with skills in ICT. Fintech is a very fast growing sector in Ireland, as technology is increasingly required to develop and improve financial services.” The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs stated in February that there is an expected growth of 10,000 jobs by 2020 within international financial services. More than 250 global financial institutions have established operations in Ireland, with many located in Dublin’s International Financial Services

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Dr Ian Jones, founder and CEO of Innopharma Labs, says: “The biopharma sector is looking for people with top skills to fulfil the roles of laboratory and engineering technicians, operators or specialists – managing the high-end machines which make these products to a high level of accuracy. There is also a demand for those with skills in technology transfers, where if a company is transferring a product from Puerto Rico into Ireland, you would need to have an excellent knowledge of the methods which were used to manufacture the product, as well as managing the regulations surrounding it. “Data analytical skills are also desired within the biopharma industry today. Whether it’s at the clinical trial stage, when you’re trying to confirm whether a drug had a successful effect or not, or during the development or the formulation stage, data is being generated to better inform many decisions. How you analyse that data, collate it into a report format and communicate it to your managers or teams to make decisions based on that data is becoming a very important skill and a role in itself.”


Thursday 4 August 2016 I Irish Independent

SPRINGBOARD+ I 7

Did you know? 80% of Springboard+ participants between 2011-2014 are no longer on the live register.

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TJ O’Connor, Senior Lecturer in Culinary Arts at Tralee Institute of Technology, says: “There’s never been a more opportune time to consider a career change into this area – the shortage of chefs at the moment is very well documented. Many people may have wanted a career in cooking in the past but found themselves taking a completely different career path because they just didn’t see a future in it at the time. But now, having taken a different route and finding themselves unemployed, they’re revisiting it because the jobs are now there. There are many career prospects for people who want to get involved in the food sector – in hotels, restaurants, delis, bakeries, catering. We’ve also had past pupils who have finished our course go on and work with artisan food producers.”

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John Casey, Head of Global Financial Information Systems at Waterford Institute of Technology, says: “International Financial Services is a broad based industry with companies operating in funds, banking and payments, insurance and reinsurance, aircraft leasing and payments and fintech. While the retail banking area took a significant battering in the downturn, they are now back on their feet and recruiting. Beyond the traditional financial services roles, such as in fund administration companies or the retail banking sector, some of our past students have ended up in policy roles inside the Central Bank or in civil service positions. Having strong data analytical skills is also in-demand within the financial services.”

Centre. This houses many of the world’s leading financial institutions, with actions including banking/asset financing, corporate treasury, asset management, insurance and pensions. However, over the past 25 years the sector has expanded not just in Dublin but nationally with up to 30 per cent of current employment outside the capital.

Tourism and Hospitality

The hospitality sector is one of the most important service sectors in the Irish economy, with 158,000 people directly employed within 16,000 enterprises. “As tourism numbers are rising,” says Alan, “it means there are shortages in a number

of areas and the hospitality sector requires a skilled and professional workforce to deliver the highest standards of service. In hotels, front office administrators are in-demand; and within the food sector, culinary skills and chefs are in-demand. In manufacturing sectors, food processing and development skills are needed. These skill shortages are predicted to continue for the next few years, with expected employment growth of between 10,000-20,000 jobs right up to 2020.”

Alan McGrath attending the launch of Springboard+ 2016, with Lorraine Bowen from The Entrepreneurs Academy

Securing jobs

Alan says that construction is another sector that is seeing growth in employment figures. “Construction had the biggest impact from an unemployment point of view around 2008 and 2009 when a huge numbers of workers, predominantly male, lost their jobs in this sector. So when Springboard+ was founded, a significant portion of participants were exconstruction workers who were reskilling and launching new careers because in the initial years of Springboard+, there weren’t any jobs within this area.” The construction sector is expected to grow more than 20 per cent in 2016 but there is a lack of skilled resources, which needs to be addressed. For example, ICT competencies are becoming increasingly important in construction projects; in particular Building Information Modelling (BIM) and energy retrofit skills. “Springboard+ has been successful in helping people to find jobs within a number of areas,” says Alan. “A recent check by the Department of Social Protection showed that 80 per cent of people who took a Springboard+ course between 2011-2014 are no longer on the Live Register. We also know that many of the graduates have gone on to develop their own businesses and are now hiring people. “One of the reasons for this success is that the courses are designed in collaboration with those in industry to ensure that the skills learned are up-to-date. Learners also receive career advice and CV or interview preparation skills whilst on their course, so that when they finish, they’re going out with a newfound sense of confidence. The combination of their new skills and confidence is then assisting them to make the transition back into sustainable employment.”

Working with Openet OPENET, one of Ireland’s leading telecoms software providers, is just one high-profile employer that has hired Springboard+ graduates in the past. Established in 1999, Openet has grown to become Ireland’s largest privately owned software company, with over 1,000 employees located in 23 countries worldwide today. By delivering innovative and highperformance telecoms software, the company enables global telecoms serviceproviders to make money through optimising their customer experience. Some of Openet’s impressive clients include leading telecommunications providers eir and AT&T. In recent years, Openet has hired software engineers who have retrained from other disciplines outside the ICT area. As a result of the economic downturn, talented graduates (with support from initiatives such as Springboard+) or people on the live register have retrained and started working in the ICT Sector.

What’s it like to work with Openet When an engineer comes to work in the software industry, he or she will see an everchanging landscape. As they see every day with their own consumer electronics, change is ever present. The modern telecoms industry is dependent on the software industry for its ability to meet the demands of its customers. To meet this demand from the telecom operators, Openet

has developed several new product lines. Their engineers have built up a large set of skills and these skills are continuing to expand and change. At the heart of Openet’s success is its people, the company says. Typical tasks for their engineers include:

• Working at customer sites, integrating and building complex business logic. • Building clear and simple-to-use graphical user interfaces, hiding complexity beneath. • Working with virtual Linux systems, writing and testing the most efficient network routing software that has to handle failure and high availability use cases. • Working on open-source community projects. • Working with modern development methodologies such as Agile, against a backdrop of cloud. Openet cited a recent example of employment success; a graduate who had initially completed an education training degree, then retrained in ICT, and subsequently joined Openet as an engineer. Following his formal training, the engineer undertook an intense training course to take on Java development and testing. As part of this training, he undertook a two-month internship at Openet. At the end of this internship, he took up a fulltime role as an engineer with responsibility for automated testing development.


8 I SPRINGBOARD+

Irish Independent I Thursday 4 August 2016

New job-focussed courses at Athlone Institute of Technology A

thlone Institute of Technology is now inviting candidates to take up places on new programmes commencing in September 2016. AIT is a recognised leader in working with industry, and has developed these courses to meet the needs of employers for skilled and qualified staff. Places on these programmes are free to eligible candidates.

Higher Diploma in Science in Software Development (Cloud Application Development) (Full Time)

The latest edition of the Hays Salary and Recruiting Trends Guide, which surveyed over 1,300 employers and employees across Ireland, shows that in 2015 alone the demand for IT skills grew by 15 per cent. There is a skills shortage in the sector, which has become increasingly acute as more and more tech companies expand their operations in Ireland. This programme will equip graduates with the necessary skills and expertise in software engineering, including web and cloud application technologies. Graduates will have acquired the detailed knowledge and specialist architectural and technical skills required to design and implement cloud-based solutions and services.

Postgraduate Diploma in Green Engineering (Part Time)

This programme aims to develop skills in areas relevant to the “green economy”. The programme complements core undergraduate competencies, with a particular focus on problem-solving and design of engineering solutions in the broad area of environmental protection and energy-related industries. The programme is targeted at sub-sectors which have clear employment growth potential, including renewable energies; efficient energy use and management; water and waste water treatment; waste management, recovery and recycling; environmental consultancy services; and green ICT applications and software.

Certificate in Lean Construction Scheduling and Control (Part Time and Flexible)

This is a new and exciting programme in the area of lean construction scheduling and control, with a particular focus on the use of

building information modelling (BIM). New integrated approaches to work practices in the construction sector now require organisations to work in a collaborative manner throughout the lifecycle of a construction project. Graduates will acquire an awareness of the managerial and technical skills needed to contribute in a meaningful way to the management and delivery of projects. They will also acquire the core ICT skills needed to apply scheduling and control techniques in a lean construction environment, with a particular focus on the use of 5D building information modelling and related IT applications. These programmes are available to all applicants, and in particular to those wishing to enrol through the national Springboard+ / ICT skills conversion initiatives. For more information see www.ait.ie/springboard

Free undergraduate & postgraduate places in DCU DCU Certificate in Software Systems & Entrepreneurship, Level 8

DCU’s Level 8 Certificate in Software Systems and Entrepreneurship will develop your creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial skills. You will learn about modern databases, systems analysis and entrepreneurship. This one-year course runs from September to May. Course delivery is highly flexible, with most of the support being provided online, with additional face-to-face tutorials on Saturdays in DCU. This means you can undertake the course around family or other commitments, regardless of location. There are no academic entry requirements to the course if applicants are over 23 years. Applicants under 23 are assessed based on Leaving Certificate or equivalent.

DCU Postgraduate Diplomas, Level 9

The DCU Postgraduate Diplomas offered through Springboard are multi-purpose Level

9 awards and are presented by the specialist National Institute for Digital Learning, DCU. As the programmes are provided through online distance learning, people located anywhere in Ireland can engage. Students are fully supported with dedicated online tutors who have a broad range of experience from private and public sectors. Students participate in our online tutorials which are recorded and archived for convenience. All modules are assessed via continuous assessment, with no year-end exams. If students find employment prior to completion of the programme, DCU will facilitate them to complete over a longer timeframe. Students that successfully complete the postgraduate diploma are eligible to apply to undertake the dissertation module to achieve a Masters qualification in their chosen discipline. These programmes also recently received AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation.


Thursday 4 August 2016 I Irish Independent

SPRINGBOARD+ I 9


10 I SPRINGBOARD+

Irish Independent I Thursday 4 August 2016

SPRINGBOARD 2016 www.springboardcourses.ie Athlone Institute of Technology Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Dublin City University Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Certificate in Lean Construction Scheduling and Control

Level 6

20

Certificate in Software Systems and Entrepreneurship

Level 8

60

DCU Postgraduate Diploma in Management for Sustainable Development

Level 9

DCU Postgraduate Diploma in Management of Information Systems Strategy

Level 9

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

90

Higher Diploma in Science in Software (Cloud Application Development) [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

Postgraduate Diploma in Green Engineering

Level 9

60

Colaiste Dhulaigh College of Further Education Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

3D Animation

Level 8

60

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Level 6

College of Computing Technology (CCT) Springboard+ Courses

GetReSkilled Holdings Limited Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

e-(Bio)PharmaChem

Level 7

15

e-Validation

Level 7

15

60

Griffith College Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

60

Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Engineering

Level 7

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Data Analytics [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Web Development [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

90

DCU Postgraduate Diploma in Management of Operations

Level 9

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Software Development [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

70

32.5

Dublin Institute of Technology Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

B.Sc. (Hons.) in Medical Device Innovation

Level 8

60

Diploma in Big Data Technology Skills

Level 7

60

CPD in Process Analytical Technologies for Biopharma and Pharmaceutical Industries

Level 8

30

Higher Diploma in Science in Web Development [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

90

Cork Institute of Technology Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Higher Certificate in Hotel and Restaurant Operations

Level 6

60

Innopharma Labs Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

BSc Honours in Architectural Technology

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in Hospitality Management

Level 8

60

Certificate in Food Science and Technology

Level 6

75

BSc Honours in Interior Architecture

Level 8

60

Certificate in ICT Project Management

Level 8

10

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

90

Certificate in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Operations

Level 6

70

Certificate in Mechanical & Electrical Quantity Surveying

Level 8

15

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

90

Diploma in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacturing

Level 8

70

Diploma in Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Operations

Level 7

60

Master of Engineering (ME) in Mechanical Engineering

Level 9

90

Higher Diploma in Food Science and Technology

Level 8

70

MSc in Medical Device Technology & Operations

Level 9

90

60

MSc in Applied Building Information Modelling & Management

Level 9

30

MSc in Pharmaceutical Data Analytics

Level 9

90

Postgraduate Diploma in Collaborative BIM

Level 9

30

MSc in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Process Technology

Level 9

90

Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Institute of Technology Blanchardstown Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Higher Diploma in Science in Cloud and Mobile Software Development [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

Higher Diploma in Science in Cloud Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Data Science & Analytics [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

Postgraduate Certificate in Business in Digital Start Up

Level 9

30

Certificate in Cisco CCNA and Systems Administration with Work Experience

Level 6

60

Lean Sigma Black Belt

Level 8

30

Postgraduate Diploma in Business in Cultural Event Management

Level 9

60

Level 8

90

Lean Sigma Green Belt

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Dundalk Institute of Technology Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

90

Certificate in 2D/3D Digital Animation Production

Level 7

40

Certificate in 3D for Games

Level 7

40

MSc in Computing (Information Security & Digital Forensics)

Level 9

90

Certificate in Business in Digital Marketing and Digital Media Management

Level 7

30

Institute of Technology Carlow Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Diploma in Composing for Games

Level 8

60

BSc in Energy Management (Buildings)

Level 7

60

Certificate in Aircraft Acquisition and Finance

Level 7

10

Certificate in Purchasing Strategy, Quality Management and Lean Six Sigma

Level 6

60

Level 7

15

Digital Skills Academy Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

WebElevate 5.0 (BSc Ordinary in Digital Technology, Digital Business and Digital Design)

Level 7

60

Dorset College Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Bachelor of Business (Hons) in International Business

Level 8

60

Diploma in Global Operations & Supply Chain Management

Level 7

60

Dublin Business School Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Certificate in Business Skills

Level 6

40

Certificate in Digital Marketing

Level 7

40

Certificate in Fund Accounting

Level 7

30

Certificate in Programming

Level 7

40

Certificate in Risk and Financial Analysis

Level 9

30

Diploma in Big Data for Business

Level 7

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (with specialist streams in Software Development, Web & Cloud Technologies and IT Infrastructure & Networking) [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (with specialist streams in Software Development, Web & Cloud Technologies and IT Infrastructure & Networking) (Evenings) [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

Higher Diploma in Science in Data Analytics (Evenings) [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Data Analytics [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

60

60

Diploma in Food and Agri-business

Level 7

60

Diploma in Food Supply Chain Operations

Level 7

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in Technical Direction for 3D Computer Animation Production [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time] EQUAL Ireland Springboard+ Courses

Level 8

60

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

BA in Business Enterprise & Community Development

Level 7

60

Financial Services Ireland Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

FSI CareerPlus Strand A: Graduate Diploma in Financial Services & Employability Certificate

Level 9

70

Galway Mayo Institute of Technology Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Certificate in Construction Management

Level 6

40

Certificate in Culinary Arts and Professional Cookery

Level 6

30

Certificates in Medical Device Technology & Quality Management (EIQA Diploma)

Level 6

50

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

90

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

90

Higher Diploma in Digital Media Design

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

90

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

90

Higher Diploma in Supply Chain Management

Level 8

60

Master of Science in Data Science

Level 9

90

Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs

Level 9

90

Master of Science in Supply Chain Management

Level 9

90

MSc in IT Management

Level 9

90


Thursday 4 August 2016 I Irish Independent

SPRINGBOARD 2016

SPRINGBOARD+ I 11

www.springboardcourses.ie Certificate in Biopharmaceutical Science

Level 8

30

Certificate in Near Zero Energy Buildings

Level 6

20

30

Creative Multimedia Programming [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

Level 6

30

Enterprise Solutions Development

Level 8

25

Certificate in Industrial Instrumentation and Automation

Level 6

35

Software Development (part-time) [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

90

Software Development [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

90

Irish Medical Devices Association Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

Quality for Medical Technologies (incorporating a Certificate in Quality (SPA) & Diploma in Professional Competence (SPA))

Institute of Technology Tralee Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Certificate in Biopharmaceutical Processes

Level 8

25

Certificate in Culinary Skills

Level 6

Certificate in Environmental Science

Higher Diploma in Business Language and Culture in East Asia

Level 8

MA in Digital Arts and Humanities

60

Level 9

90

University College Dublin Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

60

Graduate Certificate in Biopharmaceutical Engineering

Level 9

30

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in Computer Science [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

75

Maynooth University Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise

Level 9

30

ECTS Credits

Higher Diploma in Science (Data analytics) [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

University of Limerick Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Level 8

50

Higher Diploma in Science (Software Development) [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

Digital Fabrication - Design and Manufacture (Certificate)

Level 7

24

IT Sligo Springboard+ Courses

National College of Ireland Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Higher Diploma in Software Systems Development [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

60

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Certificate in Biopharmaceutical Processing

Level 7

40

Certificate in Digital Marketing

Level 8

30

International Entrepreneurship Management (Graduate Diploma)

Level 9

60

Certificate in Lean Sigma Quality (Six Sigma Green Belt)

Level 7

25

Higher Diploma in Fintech [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

International Financial Services (Higher Diploma)

Level 8

60

Certificate in Polymer Processing

Level 7

40

Higher Diploma in Fintech [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

60

Lean Systems (Distance Education) (Specialist Diploma)

Level 9

42

Certificate in Process Technology

Level 6

40

36

40

60

Level 9

Level 6

Level 8

Mechatronics (Specialist Diploma)

Certificate in Validation Technologies

Higher Diploma in Science in Data Analytics [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

60

Level 8

90

Level 8

Middleware Integration and Software Development (Higher Diploma) [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing - Cybersecurity [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Production and Inventory Management (Certificate in SCM)

54

90

Level 8

Level 8 Certificate in Science in BioProcessing Technologies

42

40

Six Sigma (Distance Education) (Specialist Diploma)

Level 9

Level 8

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing — Mobile Application Development [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 7

Level 8

IT Tallaght Springboard+ Courses

Software Development (Higher Diploma) [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Bachelor of Science in the Management of Innovation and Technology

Level 9

42

Level 7

Supply Chain Management (Online) (Specialist Diploma)

Certificate in Cloud, Provisioning, Management & Security

Waterford Institute of Technology Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Certificate in Culinary Skills

Level 6

60

Certificate in E-Marketing and Promotion

Level 6

50

Higher Diploma in Business Systems Analysis

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in Business Systems Analysis [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

60

60

60

Level 8

60

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Online delivery with specialist streams in Cloud Computing, Software Development, Mobile Application Development) [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 7

30

Higher Diploma in Web Technologies [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

Certificate in Culinary Skills

Level 6

30

Postgraduate Diploma in Data Analytics

Level 9

60

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

90

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — Two year part-time]

Level 8

90

Letterkenny IT Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

BSc in Digital Construction

Level 6

75

Certificate in Culinary Skills

Level 6

70

Certificate in Mainframe Technologies (Dublin)

Level 8

Higher Diploma in 3D Modelling and Animation

Level 8

Postgraduate Diploma in Fintech

Level 9

60

National University of Ireland Galway Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Higher Diploma in Applied Science (Software Design and Development Industry Stream) [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

60

Higher Diploma in International Financial Services (IFS)

Level 8

90

Postgraduate Diploma in Innovation Management

Level 9

40

Specialist Diploma in Lean and Quality Systems

Level 8

30

Higher Diploma in Science in Computer Science [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

90

50

NIBRT Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

MSc in Global Financial Information Systems (GFIS)

Level 9

90

75

Certificate in Biopharma Processing

Level 6

40

MSc in Information Systems Processes

Level 9

90

MSc in Innovative Technology Engineering

Level 9

90

Higher Diploma in Financial Services Technologies

Level 8

75

Certificate in Cleanroom Manufacturing

Level 6

40

Higher Diploma in Governance and Compliance in Financial Services

Level 8

70

Certificate in QC Testing for Biopharma

Level 9

20

Level 7

45

Higher Diploma in Mainframe Business Systems

Level 8

75

Certificate in Science in Biopharmaceutical Operations

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing [ICT Skills Conversion — One year full-time]

Level 8

75

Northeast College Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing in Business Systems Analysis and Design - Industry linked general

Level 8

60

Higher National Certificate in Hospitality Management

Level 6

75

Higher Diploma in Science in Computing in IT Project Management

Level 8

60

The Entrepreneurs Academy Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Higher Diploma in Tourism Destination Development

Level 8

80

Practical Entrepreneurship — Learn to Work for Yourself

Level 6

15

MSc in Computing in Private Cloud Technologies

Level 9

85

Trinity College Dublin Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

Postgraduate Certificate in Six Sigma and Business Improvement

Level 9

45

Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Level 9

30

Limerick Institute of Technology Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

University College Cork Springboard+ Courses

NFQ Level

ECTS Credits

BSc (Hons) in Process & Engineering Management

Level 8

60

Building Information Modelling

Level 6

10

Higher Diploma in Advanced Languages and Global Communication

Level 8

60


12 I SPRINGBOARD+

Irish Independent I Thursday 4 August 2016

Starting afresh We speak to past Springboard+ participants about how their course of choice changed their lives for the better

Everything to gain!

Opening doors

When Caroline Monks’ work hours were cut, Despite having 10 years of experience in the she knew a change needed to be made if she and design industry, Darran McCague suddenly found himself unemployed and searching for a her family were to feel secure new job that would help to support himself and was working with my former employer for his family. Although the career journey wasn’t about seven years,” says Caroline, “however, during an easy one, his determination to upskill helped the recession my hours were significantly cut to the point him to find a light at the end of the tunnel where I could have been working

“I

D

arran, who had previously worked in a number of design companies in Dublin, was let go from his role as Senior Designer in a small print-based company in 2014. “I started applying for a variety of jobs and each time, employers told me that I didn’t have the skills they were looking for,” he explains. “So, I did some research into the skills that the companies were looking for and I realised that the current skills that were indemand in the market had changed. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I decided to put the jobhunting on hold for a while and that’s when I looked into doing a Springboard+ course. “The Level 8 Digital Technology, Design and Innovation in the Digital Skills Academy, partnered with DIT, was exactly the kind of course I was looking for. It suited me from both a content and location point-of-view. It was free if you were unemployed, which was an added bonus, because many courses can cost up to €10,000, which I didn’t have. And, finally, it was part-time – I needed the flexibility so I could make time for my wife and four kids. But when I say it was part-time, this didn’t mean it was a walk in the park – it was still very full-on!” While much of the course was online, Darran explains there were opportunities for group meet-ups which had a positive effect on his outlook. “The social aspect of the course was great – it got me back into that space of meeting new people from different backgrounds and also boosted my confidence. When you lose a job, you lose confidence. I’d lost jobs previously over the last number of years, and it does get you down. I loved the social aspect of it, sharing your skills and knowledge with people while learning from others too.” Darran’s desire was to get back into the web design or the software development industry – an industry he truly loved – and when he discovered a job role he was interested in, he immediately began planning. “Before I applied for the course, I saw a job vacancy at IBM Design Studio, Dublin but I didn’t have the confidence or skillset to apply at the time. I saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity. I made a huge sacrifice – I was still unemployed, still had kids, still had a

mortgage and bills to pay – but I put it on hold until I was ready. “Six months into the course, I updated my online portfolio, applied for the job and now have a full-time permanent position. This was a huge turning point. So we had our newborn fourth baby, a new job and college at the same time. There was a lot going on but we got through it and are now doing really well. I couldn’t have done it without my wife, Kate, and for her patience and belief in me and my children, who were my main driving force behind doing it!” Darran says: “The industry is always changing so you need to be moving along with it – educating yourself, being one step ahead of the game. There are many Springboard+ courses available for anyone who finds themselves unemployed like I was. You really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

for only three days a week. By the time I had my son, the hours were cut right down so I set about getting more secure employment. I also felt that in my prior role, I wasn’t going to progress much further because I didn’t have the opportunity to prove what I was capable of without having the relevant qualification. “I studied a Master’s in Business, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise in Waterford Institute of Technology. A career in business was always something I had an interest in, but I lacked the confidence to go for it. It’s difficult to get your foot in the door with employers if you lack both the experience and qualification. I felt by achieving a qualification of this level, it would position me better to go for the type of job I really wanted. “Straight after I finished the course, I got a job as an Executive Assistant to the CEO & CFO of Harvey Norman Ireland. The role is quite varied – it has given me the opportunity to directly apply my newly acquired skills, such as strategic planning, project management, organisational behaviour, change management, accountancy and economics, to mention but a few – topics I had covered on the course and wouldn’t have had much exposure to or an insight into before. The main thing for me was to actually just have the confidence to be able to apply these new skills and to have faith in what I was talking about when it came to making decisions. “Beforehand I might have been a bit reticent about speaking up in a business setting because I’d feel I wasn’t amply qualified to do so. Having that qualification and experiencing the learning process of the course does increase your confidence – you start believing in your own ability.” Although the course was part-time, Caroline says her week was full-on. However, she kept a firm focus on what she could accomplish at the end. “My daughter was two years old and my son was five months old when I started the

course, so juggling night feeds and college was a challenge at times. By the time you got the kids fed and sorted for bed, you were then starting on the college work. There were a lot of very late nights but you just tell yourself, it is only short-term and the work will all be outweighed by the gain at the end of it!” “Springboard+ certainly opens doors straight away – the qualifications that can be achieved through it are excellent and very relevant to the current work environment. Another factor I found very beneficial was the rich mix of people that were part of the course – you certainly get inspired by some of the varied ideas people from other backgrounds bring to the table, while you also get the opportunity to share some of your own!” Caroline has recently completed year one of a PhD in Retail and Marketing. She says: “Had you told me prior to commencing the Springboard+ course that in a few years, I would be enrolled in a course of that nature, I would never have believed it. I have no doubt that I would not have achieved this level of education had it not been for the opportunities provided by Springboard+.”


Thursday 4 August 2016 I Irish Independent

SPRINGBOARD+ I 13

Brewing up new skills

Having opened the first and second Irish pubs in Peru, there’s no doubt that Nigel Murray has a strong flair for entrepreneurship. After working abroad in a number of countries, he decided he wanted to open his own business back home in Ireland. However, to do this he needed to consider upskilling

“I

was working in Peru for 10 years before I decided to move back home to Ireland,” says Nigel. “When home, I worked as head chef in two of Galway’s leading hotels, the Ardilaun and five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel. However, having owned several businesses in Peru and with my parents’ business background, it was inevitable I was going to want to do the same in Ireland. After finishing work with the hotels, I then began to assist my wife with her small artisan sauce business. It was through this process that I began to develop some ideas about creating a unique product range for the food industry.” And so Nigel applied for the Springboard+ Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship course at GMIT (Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology). “I wanted to learn more achieving much more than anyone else about food development in the class!” she laughs. “However, I did and the business skills I partake eagerly in class activities and was needed to get into that area. very keen to get the most out of the course. I also needed to familiarise I was often the first to pitch an idea or to myself with the different contribute to class activities in some way. It laws and regulations over was a great feeling to win the award. here. I loved the fact that the “A couple of weeks after finishing the course was a mix of people course, I was delighted to get a new position from different backgrounds as General Manager of the Blackstairs – all within the various Group Water Scheme, one of Leinster’s sectors of the food industry so everyone largest private group water schemes. This complemented each other. The founders of the is a very forward-thinking group water course, Maria McDonagh, Dr Lisa Ryan and scheme and I feel my innovation and Brendan Allen, put together an excellent team enterprise skills, in addition to the practical of mentors, who were inspiring leaders in interview skills I gained at the Academy their area of expertise. The modules gave me helped to get this position. an excellent insight into the creative process, “I feel the Springboard+ course exposed customer discovery, product development and me to such a diversity of new skills, new marketing. We also covered market analysis, ideas and new people. It gives you time to nutrition, validation, lean startup, legislation refocus, get your voice heard and gain the and how to pitch your idea or product.” confidence to move forward into whatever During the course, Nigel’s class were field is a good fit for you. If the opportunity encouraged to participate in the Food is there, then why not take it? I knew if I had Tech start up weekend in Galway, an open stayed in the competition for pitching same job for innovative food and tech ideas. much longer, Out of over 70 people, six of 10 This year the Innovation because of finalists were from Nigel’s class, Academy UCD will be my age the in which Nigel came third. offering courses in opportunity “It was a great challenge to for change put yourself forward and pitch Dublin, Waterford, Cork would in front of a large audience. and Drogheda. If you are diminish. I found the weekend an interested in applying for a I was very extremely rewarding experience Springboard+ programme happy I and was grateful to have come decided to third. On the strength of my with the Innovation Academy move on, idea, I then applied to the UCD register your interest enhance my New Frontiers Entrepreneur at www.innovators.ie/ skills and Development Programme by springboard-adult-learning come out Enterprise Ireland, a course for the end with a wonderful new job.”

Changing direction

Dympna Skelton had always been eager to learn new skills and after working for 15 years in the same position, she decided she wanted a change. Here, she explains why it’s never too late to try something new

“W

hen you’re over 50, many people might say that it’s not a good idea to give up your job,” Dympna says, “but I had been working at Slaney Foods as Environmental and Laboratory Manager for almost 15 years and although it was a fast-moving environment, I found that I had done most of the things in my area of work over and over again, and so I wanted to try something new.” For Dympna, who had previously studied Industrial Biology in Carlow IT and completed a Master’s in Environmental Science at Sligo Institute of Technology, learning and being in an educational setting has always been one of her passions and an ethos that has followed her throughout her life. So when the social welfare office informed her that she was eligible to participate in a Springboard+ course, she jumped at the chance. “I always had an interest in creativity and the postgraduate course in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise at Innovation Academy, UCD seemed like an ideal course for me. It enabled me to develop a creative and entrepreneurial mindset, discover the process of design, pitch ideas and learn about the ways you could actually turn an idea into something real. “I was given the opportunity to take part in real-life team-based project challenges with participating industry partners. I got the chance to work with the local authority on the wonderful Waterford Greenway, suggesting ways they might enhance the area for the local people and tourists alike.” Dympna was awarded the Innovation Academy Endeavour Award for her achievements throughout the course and credits this to her eager involvement in all aspects of the course. “To be honest, I didn’t find myself

early-stage start-ups. There were only eight places in Galway and five in Castlebar and I was lucky enough to be offered a place in Galway, which is where I am right now.” Nigel credits his success in achieving a place in the New Frontiers programme to his Springboard+ funded Food and Innovation course in GMIT. “Without that course I wouldn’t have had the skills or confidence to pitch my idea and it certainly wouldn’t have set me up for the programme. In order to be considered for the New Frontiers Phase 2 programme, I went through a lengthy application process followed by a ten-minute presentation and challenging questions about my idea – there was no way I would have been able to accomplish this without the Springboard+ course. It enabled me to learn a whole new set of life and job skills, create a network of likeminded people, and gave me the confidence to move forward with my own idea. “I’ve only just begun my new course but I’m hoping to develop my product and make it a reality. I think the food sector is a very fast growing industry, from the artisan area where people are making sauces and chutneys all the way up to the larger producers. If it’s an area you want to get involved in, don’t be afraid to give it a go.”


14 I SPRINGBOARD+

Irish Independent I Thursday 4 August 2016

New experiences

Tim McGrath had been travelling around Australia and New Zealand before returning home to Ireland in 2015 without a career plan in mind. Here, he explains why it’s never too late to transform your skillset

“W

hen I left school, I studied Logistics and Supply Chain Management at DIT and worked within that industry for a few years before I decided to go travelling,” Tim says. “For two years, I worked in various jobs in Australia and New Zealand but eventually I made the decision to return home to Ireland. But once I got there and started job-hunting, I didn’t know what to do. “I always had a huge interest in digital marketing and I felt that it was definitely an industry that’s growing a lot here in Dublin. I think a lot of employers are looking for digitalsavvy people who work well within a company – having digital skills can be beneficial for today’s market in whatever line of work you are doing. So I started looking at what my options were.” Tim first heard about the Springboard+ initiative while attending a careers event and, in particular, was attracted to the BSc Degree in Digital Technology and Design course with Digital Skills Academy, accredited by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). “After researching the course, I was impressed with the modules and interested in applying. I discovered I was a candidate because I held a previous qualification related to one of the specific programme disciplines, digital marketing, and was also actively seeking employment. I applied and successfully got my course. “The course was for one year online which meant that you could easily fit it in with your day – it didn’t matter where you were based in the country, so you wouldn’t need to worry about transport costs to get to your course or such. Although you were still given the

opportunity to either speak with your lecturer online or meet with class members every fortnight.” Tim feels that one of the main benefits of the course was the opportunity to get handson work experience through the course’s industry partnership. “At the end of the course, I was given the opportunity to lead a project with a digital agency in Dublin. While I was doing this, I was offered a work placement which allowed me to practise applying the skills I was learning at the same time. “The course lecturers would always encourage you to put your own business ideas forward to help build a digital product and that was something I was never involved in before – it gave me a deep understanding about setting up a business and entrepreneurism. There were also certain management styles that I was never aware of before, in terms of managing projects and people – teams of designers and coders.” And just a month after finishing the course, Tim was hired as a Digital Marketing Analyst with FitoMetrics, a Smart Body Trainer website, putting his project managing skills into action and developing new marketing strategies amongst many other roles. “I’d definitely say a lot of doors were opened for me because I did the course,” he says. “You really need to look at what’s out there and what interests you because there is something there for everyone. Another bonus was the fact that I didn’t have to pay tuition fees and this is beneficial for people in particular who are job seeking and can’t afford to do a third-level course. Take the opportunity to enhance your skills while you can.”

New challenges

Leeann O’Hanlon worked in the civil service for seven years but she longed to try something different. When she wasn’t having any luck while applying for new jobs, she decided to take a step back and weigh up her options

“I

left the civil service to do a Masters in Child, Family and Community Studies but when I was finished, I was searching for jobs for six months and wasn’t getting anywhere,” she explains. “I went to my social welfare office for advice and they recommended I look into a Springboard+ course, namely the postgraduate certificate in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise at the Innovation Academy, DIT. I was a little unsure at first because I had never studied business as I thought it was more for people who wanted to be entrepreneurs, which had never really crossed my mind.” Leeann, who has a strong interest in community youth work and is a volunteer leader of CanTeen Ireland, a support group for Irish teenagers who have or have had cancer, decided to go ahead and give the course a try. “I just felt that I wasn’t really doing much apart from applying for jobs so to get out of that headspace of getting rejections and trawling through things, I saw the course as something fresh to try. We did a lot of presentations and public speaking which I hadn’t done in a long time, so I felt like the course reawakened that in me and gave me the confidence to talk to a group about my own ideas or discuss someone else’s. With my youth work background, it was usually one-on-one interactions with clients so to see that I could stand in front of an audience and present something was a great feeling. “Meeting guest speakers and people from many different

fields, such as the food and construction industry, inspired and gave me an insight into how their ideas and solutions in their own fields were developed and that you can always work on your own side project, no matter what career you’re in. You can still have your main job if that’s what you need to support your life, but you can also work on an idea in your spare time that might then become your full-time job.” Towards the end of the course, Leeann was offered a JobBridge position within the Department of Justice and Equality and today works as a Support Officer with Pobal. “I’m still working in the same field but now I’m more open to ideas and maybe in the future I will set up my own part-time business with the skills I have gained throughout the course. Anyone can be an entrepreneur in their field – you don’t have to say ‘I’m an entrepreneur’ – you can say ‘I’m a youth worker with entrepreneurial skills as well.’ “I found that my Springboard+ experience wasn’t just rote learning and that there’s another way of learning as adults – a trial-and-error way. I hadn’t had that kind of educational experience before and as an adult all your background experience wasn’t discounted just because it wasn’t in the business field. You could appreciate whatever life experience you had. Even if you think you don’t have any business knowledge, you do as a customer. They highlighted that and I hadn’t ever thought of it before!”


Thursday 4 August 2016 I Irish Independent

SPRINGBOARD+ I 15

Part-time Graduate Study in Software Development at DCU DCU Higher Diploma in Science in Software Development (ICT Skills Conversion)

This two-year part-time intensive course has been designed to augment the skills of noncomputing graduates through learning key modern software development techniques and skills. You will learn transferable fundamental skills through the use of contemporary languages, tool-chains and methodologies that can be directly applied in industry. Areas of study include:

• Web technologies from client to server and with respect to toolsets, languages and user experience. • Programming with Java including objectorientated techniques, algorithms, test-driven development and working in an Agile way. • Database Design including fundamentals of SQL and data modelling; use of MySQL, database management, and Big Data and NoSQL. • Mobile application development using source

control/versioning, optimisation, web APIs and developing and presenting a work-based project.

The course will be delivered through engaging teaching and learning methods, with a mix of both leading academics and active industry practitioners. Face-to-face workshops will take place in Dublin City University on Saturdays and tutorials will be held on weekday evenings through live online virtual classrooms. Applicants are required to hold a primary degree. Applicants would ideally be working in ICT or an ICT-related role to undertake a work-based project. Candidates not currently working in ICT will work on open source, charity and not-for-profit projects. A key learning outcome of this course is that students will demonstrate their ability to apply their skills and knowledge in the industry and to be aware of the impact of software development in a real-world context.

Prepare for the future at IT Tallaght

“A

t the computing department in IT Tallaght, our primary goal is to provide the graduates that industry needs,” says Barry Feeney, Head of Department. “It’s a balancing act, between focusing on the latest technologies, and having long-term quality content, not just specific training for specific technology.” The computing department’s courses offered through Springboard+ include the Higher Diploma in Science in Computing (Level 8), a graduate conversion programme offered full- or part-time, which gives graduates from non-computing backgrounds the skills to start a career in ICT. “Our full-time conversion course is designed to appeal to graduates whose current industry is in decline, or those who find themselves recently on the jobs market. The part-time course appeals to those currently in another industry who would like to move into ICT. “We are also targeting people who have

OUR PRIMARY GOAL IS TO PROVIDE THE GRADUATES THAT INDUSTRY NEEDS.

been working in IT but need to update or modernise their skills, around the cloud and virtualisation and security; they might consider taking our Certificate in Cloud, Provisioning, Management and Security (Level 7).” A direct relationship with industry is one of the key facets of IT Tallaght’s offering. The Higher Diploma in Science in Computing carries a unique level of industry support – from companies like Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Telecity, Ergo, Sage, Version 1, among others, and the full-time course has an over 90 per cent conversion rate from completing the programme into employment in ICT. For more see www.it-tallaght.ie/springboard


16 I SPRINGBOARD+

Irish Independent I Thursday 4 August 2016

Eight in 10 find medtech work after completing this course

I

reland’s medtech industry is growing and this is creating exciting new opportunities for jobseekers. With over 29,000 people already working in the sector, Ireland is the highest medtech employer, per capita, in Europe. The latest survey by the Irish Medical Device Association (IMDA), the Ibec group which represents the sector, shows that six

David O’Leary, Senior Quality Engineer, Nypro Healthcare, Co Wicklow and Edward Seery, Quality Validation Engineer, Nypro Healthcare, Co Wicklow

out of 10 companies are looking to hire quality engineers. As many as 82 per cent of people who have got the skills they need from the governmentfunded IMDA Springboard+ Certificate in Quality Engineering (QQI Level 8) course, now have vital work experience in the sector. Edward Seery, a previous course participant, is a Quality Validation Engineer in Nypro Healthcare, which employs 360 staff in Co Wicklow and a further 180 in Co Waterford. Edward says the course helped him: “I felt I needed to give myself a competitive edge to differentiate myself from other candidates in the market. It broadened my horizons and employment opportunities, so much so that the day after completing my exams, Nypro Healthcare interviewed me for a Quality Validation Engineer position and one week later I started.” The course commences Monday 19 September in NUI Galway. Interested applicants can apply online at www.imdaspringboard.ie

Exciting opportunities for you to improve your future work skills at DBS

D

ublin Business School (DBS), in conjunction with the Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the Government Springboard+ initiative, is providing the unemployed with the opportunity to reskill or upskill for FREE under a range of approved and accredited courses identified as providing training that will improve the future skills of the labour force, in a range of sectors where sustainable employment is predicted to rise as the economy is recovering. DBS is offering Special Purpose Awards in Digital Marketing, Fund Accounting, Big Data, Programming, Risk and Financial Analysis and Business Skills on an evening basis in its city centre campus. All Springboard+ programmes are awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). DBS is also offering the Higher Diploma in Science in Computing and Higher Diploma in Science in Data Analytics graduate conversion programmes on a full-time and part-time basis; DBS has been running these programmes since 2012. The ICT Skills programme has been identified as providing specialised ICT training that will offer graduates a realistic prospect of a graduatelevel entry into the ICT sector and produce graduates that genuinely satisfy the needs of industry. The full-time course is 10 months with students typically attending classes Monday to Friday (9.00am-5.00pm). Upon successful completion of the seven-month taught programme, participants will engage in a minimum three-month work placement with a relevant industry partner. The part-time course is new this year and will run two evenings per week over two academic years. The part-time courses do not incorporate a work placement programme and students will complete an industry project. The part-time offerings are suited to those in employment

and seeking opportunities in the ICT sector or those currently working in the sector who may now wish to upskill with relevant skills needed in today’s fast-changing environment. Cliona O’Beirne, Director of Marketing and Admissions, said: “Ireland is host to major international companies in the social media, video games and software industries as well as a growing indigenous base of Irish tech companies. All of these companies require a steady stream of graduates to fill the jobs being created on a weekly basis. They need graduates with a range of ICT skills, in particular analytical thinking and programming. People with ICT skills can look forward to rewarding careers, working in cutting edge fields.” DBS offers a range of supports for Springboard+ students in ICT, including dedicated programme management, excellent teaching and learning, and specific career guidance plans.


Thursday 4 August 2016 I Irish Independent

SPRINGBOARD+ I 17

Convert for career success at NCI

N

ational College of Ireland has been the largest provider of Springboard+ graduates for several years. This year the college is offering a number of Level 8 Higher Diplomas in areas like computing, fintech and data analytics. These courses are funded regardless of employment status. Robert Ward, Director of Student Recruitment, says the courses are an ideal way to develop your career in these new ICT areas: “These Higher Diplomas can really be seen as conversion courses, so if you have a different background but you want to get into these areas of job opportunity, the courses will bring you up-to-speed with a recognised qualification.”

More than just learning skills

Fidelma O’Reilly was one student who completed a Level 8 Higher Diploma in Data Analytics at NCI’s campus on Mayor St in Dublin’s IFSC. For her, it was about so much more than technical skills.

THE CAREER BRIDGE MODULE WAS FANTASTIC. THEY DIDN’T HOLD YOUR HAND BUT THEY REALLY SUPPORTED YOU.

Fidelma O’Reilly

“If you have been out of the workplace for a while, you might not realise that you’re just out of practise with dealing with people in a particular way,” says Fidelma. “It helps you to get back in there and get involved. It gives you the soft skills and the technical skills you might need. “I met great people on my NCI course. Some were people at work looking to upskill and some were people like myself, who having had their families had decided to come back into the workplace.”

Opportunities for all

NCI is also offering postgraduate programmes in data analytics and fintech, though you do have to be unemployed to gain funding for these programmes, which will be of interest to those with a degree in computer science or

related areas. Outside of ICT, there is a programme in digital marketing for those interested in areas like marketing, sales and communications. All courses also include a Career Bridge module, designed to help you get the career management skills needed for that next promotion or for entering back into the job market. Emer Thornbury, another past Springboard+ student, found this aspect particularly beneficial: “The Career Bridge module was fantastic. They didn’t hold your hand but they really supported you. Coming to NCI was the best thing I have ever done.” For more on all these programmes visit www.ncirl.ie or call 1850 221 721. NCI also has a number of information events on campus, where you can find out more, on Wednesday 24 August from 5-7pm and Saturday 27 August from 11am-2pm

Emer Thornberry


18 I SPRINGBOARD+

W

ith 180 courses on offer through Springboard+, choosing the right fit for you can be a daunting process. There is much to take into consideration, from finding one that interests you to finding one that may lead you down a successful future career path. Joan, and her colleague Joan Fogarty, both Springboard+ Guidance Counsellors, understand the challenges applicants face in their search for employment and the need to reskill and upskill. Therefore, Springboard+ offers a confidential Freephone, impartial guidance service to help you with any queries or concerns. “Many of the people who contact the helpline have a previous history of employment and education,” says Joan. “They may have been made redundant, want a career change or set up their own business and in the current work environment are required to have more up-to-date skills. However, many people have also been out of education for so long that they don’t really know where to start and may feel nervous about stepping back into an educational setting.” Joan stresses the importance of putting some time into investigating your options and availing of the resources that are available to help develop a new career.

Irish Independent I Thursday 4 August 2016

Searching for the right course for you Springboard+ guidance counsellor, Joan O’Reilly, tells us about the importance of researching your options when choosing the Springboard+ course that is right for you

Research, research, research

“Research should be at the top of your list when it comes to choosing what course is best suited to you,” says Joan. “The various colleges that facilitate Springboard+ provide information about their courses on the Springboard+ website. You can also pay the college a visit or call them directly for further information about their specific Springboard+ courses. The more informed you are about what is on offer, the better.” You can also call on friends and family who have taken part in Springboard+ courses and ask them about their experience. This will give you a strong basis to make a decision on the right course for you.

Testimonials

Springboard+ and its course providers share testimonials on the website from people who have gone through the programme. These are very useful as you can gain insight into the course through the first-hand experience of

Joan O’Reilly others. Former participants of Springboard+ who are in a similar situation to yours can provide an example of how to approach your course. Turn to page 12 for advice and insights from past participants.

Avail of the guidance service

“I really think that a conversation with a guidance professional is key for the majority

of people,” says Joan. “I’ve been working on the Springboard+ programme since 2013 and have noticed that many people contact us with a very clear and focussed idea of what they want while others are not as sure and require more career guidance and time. However, by the end of the conversation, they generally are more confident about their career direction.” Joan explains that some people embark on a plan to enter an industry in which they believe there are numerous job opportunities. But in doing so, they might not consider other factors such as their personal interests, values, abilities and experience. The guidance process offers the chance for applicants to tease out what they really want from the next phase of their career. Each applicant, Joan says, “already knows the answers deep down, we just help them to become more self-aware.” You can also look out for the two Springboard+ regional showcase events that will take place in Dublin and Cork during the month of August. At these events, you can speak to Joan as well as representatives from the Springboard+ course providers. See page 2 for more details about the showcase.

Course providers can also help

There is a lot of support out there so you do not have to make this decision alone. Aside from the Springboard+ guidance service, all colleges have their own dedicated

Springboard+ contact for students. Each course will provide career development modules including CVs, Job Hunting Techniques and Interview Skills so you will be well supported in your place of study.

Be realistic

It is important that you apply to the course at the right level that fits your abilities, education and experience. Springboard+ courses are offered from Levels 6, 7, 8, and 9 on the National Framework of Qualification. “Sometimes people feel that their experience is sufficient enough to take on a higher level course. When assessing an application, a provider (college or institution) will review the applicant’s educational attainment and professional work experience. Also, the Springboard+ eligibility criteria is taken into consideration. “The guidance process can help you become more self-aware regarding your career interest so as to make the right course choice. Some applicants are making a very distinct career change through the Springboard+ process. The applicant must think carefully about their transferrable skills that can be brought into their new career. For example, an applicant who contacted me on the Springboard+ guidance helpline had been working in financial services for a number of years. She wanted to start a tourism business based on the Wild Atlantic Way. Her background in finance meant that she had a realistic view of the process of setting up a business, as well as the practical skills to do so.”

Love what you do

Gaining employment through Springboard+ is a priority. However, you must also keep in mind your passions, key abilities and interests. You could be setting yourself up for failure if you do not have a genuine interest in your chosen area of study. “This is crucial,” says Joan, “as it could lead to you not completing the course. This will, in turn, affect your confidence and motivation in the long run. This can often happen with people who have not sought guidance and researched their options.” For more information, contact the Springboard+ Freephone helpline on 1800 303 523


Thursday 4 August 2016 I Irish Independent

SPRINGBOARD+ I 19

Upskill into your IT career with Springboard+ at Maynooth University M

10 things you need to know before you apply for Springboard+

So you’ve made the decision to return to the classroom and further your career prospects. But before you begin your Springboard+ course, here we answer some key questions

1.

When do Springboard+ courses begin? Generally, courses begin in September, 2016. However, this varies depending on different course providers. You can check out the full list of courses and their providers on pages 10 and 11 and on www.springboardcourses.ie. You can include a maximum of 10 courses in your application, however you can only partake in one course.

2.

What is the duration of a Springboard+ course? Springboard+ courses are a maximum of one year in duration (with the exception of the twoyear part time ICT Conversion courses). This can be a full calendar year or the academic year and varies depending on course provider.

3.

What are the costs associated with taking part in a Springboard+ course? Springboard+ courses are provided free of charge. This means no fees such as registration or tuition. Costs such as travel and other expenses are covered by you for the duration of your course.

4.

Is work experience included in all Springboard+ courses? The majority of Springboard+ courses now include work experience. This is vital in getting a first step on the ladder of your new career. Work experience gives you first-hand knowledge of your prospective career choice and allows you to network with industry figures in your new line of work.

5.

Will I lose my Social Welfare assistance if I take part in a Springboard+ course? The majority of Springboard+ courses are part-time and so they will allow you to retain your payment as you continue to search for employment while you study. Some Springboard+ courses such as ICT Skills conversion courses are offered on a fulltime basis which would require a change in your social welfare service. For example, you might have to change Jobseeker’s entitlements to a bespoke Back to Education Allowance. Contact your local social welfare office for further information on this matter.

6.

Do I need to have a third level qualification to take part in a Springboard+ course? Springboard+ is open to learners at all levels whether you hold a third level diploma or degree or a Leaving Cert or other second level qualification. Springboard+ course providers take into account all levels of experience and the qualifications of their applicants. There is special exception in the case of Level 9 (Master’s) courses which require that you hold a Level 8 qualification prior to undertaking the course.

7.

If I accept an offer but change my mind, can I reapply to another course? Once you accept a course offer, your other applications are cancelled. However, if the applications process for other course providers is still open, you can apply to a different course. Don’t forget to inform the course provider immediately that you do not want to participate in their course.

8.

Where can I apply for a Springboard+ course? All applications must be made online through www.springboardcourses.ie. Applications should not be sent directly to course providers.

9.

Is Springboard+ recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)? Yes, all Springboard+ courses are recognised by the NFQ. Those who complete their course are awarded higher education awards corresponding to Levels 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the framework. This is a framework through which all learning achievements can be measured and related to each other in a coherent way.

10.

If I receive a job offer while participating in a Springboard+ course, can I continue my studies? Employment must be prioritised and so Springboard+ course providers are as flexible as possible when it comes to accommodating participants in this situation. They can often provide the opportunity for you to complete your course work on weekends or in the evenings. For more information or to apply for a course, visit www.springboardcourses.ie

aynooth University has announced the availability of 50 places on the Higher Diploma in Software Development. Funded under the Springboard+ ICT Skills initiative, the HDip in Software Development offers a one-year full-time level 8 programme in subjects in high demand by industry. These courses are designed to offer graduates from noncomputing backgrounds the opportunity to upskill into the highly-employable software and data analytics job sector in Ireland. Open to unemployed, employed and selfemployed applicants, there is no need for applicants to be unemployed or on social welfare to access these programmes. With no fees to pay, students can take advantage of a work placement, industry certification and project work as part of their learning experience. Speaking about the HDip programme, lecturer Joe Duffin from the Department

of Computer Science at Maynooth University, explained: “This course is a one-year programme for graduates who already have a Level 8 degree qualification in any subject other than computer science or software development, and who want to upskill for a career in ICT. The course modules have an industrial IT focus, including databases, web development and mobile applications, as well as a work placement module which provides CV writing and interview skills.”

The Springboard+ initiative in Higher Education offers free courses at certificate, degree and Master’s level leading to qualifications in areas where there are employment opportunities in the economy. Closing date for applications is the 17th August, 2016, with the programme commencing on 29 August, 2016. Students can apply for Maynooth University’s Springboard+ courses at: www.springboardcourses.ie


Springboard, Irish Independent  

Editor of the Springboard supplement, published in the Irish Independent on August 1st

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