Back To Education




It’s that time of the year, when we start thinking about returning to education, starting college, signing up for a night class or beginning an apprenticeship. This year is very different to previous ones. As a result of COVID-19, many courses will start late, or go online, and your experience will not be the same but those factors should not be a deterrent to you taking the leap back to education. ONE are here to provide you with guidance and information to assist you in making your decision.



This is the Government initiative to upskill workers in emerging sectors, or to offer diploma/degree courses to the unemployed or those who wish to pivot their careers back into the workforce.


A new scheme called “Human Capital Initiative” – places an emphasis on ICT, Pharma, Green technology sectors. There are 332 courses delivered by 34 colleges and universities. There is something to suit everyone and every level. Separately, there are skills conversion courses for existing graduates, open for applications now. There are several applicant categories and, in many cases, academic requirements.


Returners (homemakers) –  can apply to any Springboard course if you meet the nationality/residency criteria. People in employment, ditto.


Unemployed, or formerly self-employed – most courses are open to applicants in this category, however, some part-time programmes are not available to those in receipt of Jobseeker’s payments.


Students, – If you have recently graduated at level 8, you must wait one year before becoming eligible for a level 9 Springboard course, however, the ICT Skills Conversion is open.


Fees: A course fee of 10% is asked for at level 7,8 and 9 courses where the applicant is employed, payable to the college directly.


There are no tuition fees for returners or anyone on a DEASP (Social Welfare) payment, but they will have to pay for their own transport and course material.


All level 6 courses are free. Part time courses allow participants to retain social welfare, or they might qualify instead for a Back to Education Allowance.


Springboard+ is set up in conjunction with agreed partner colleges and are a form of blended learning. That means on-campus, distance learning, online or part time.


The courses details are available from website, or directly from your college of choice.



This Government agency, offers funded training programmes with specific learning networks for the unemployed who want to return to the workforce by rebuilding skills. Courses are short and part-time (generally), and you get to keep your benefits. There is also a work placement programme, so you can get valuable experience.  01 2079630 (closing date 5 Nov 20).




Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are offered by universities around the world, often free, as they are financed by governments or philanthropy. They can often serve as an introduction to see if you are interested in taking further studies, and may only last a few weeks, or months.


Some, however, offer full qualifications to degree and Master’s level, especially with foreign travel being restricted.


Most universities run open days, many of these are online now due to Covid 19, and if you are interested, it is worth giving your nearest education centre a call to register.


Helpful Websites

  • Springboard ( , Freephone 1800 303523 to speak to guidance counsellor until 30 Oct 20.

  • to source courses and assess requirements, costs, location etc.

  • which sources all college but also night class courses.

  • for all apprenticeship – related events, or

  • for all college related topics including finance.

  • for courses eligible for funding, 01 2079630 (closing date 5 Nov 20.

  • The Higher Education Authority has information on graduate outcomes and student finance at .