The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science has launched more than 11,000 free or subsidised places on college courses.
The courses are in areas that have been identified as of critical importance such as Cybersecurity, Virtual Reality, Health Innovation, Logistics and Online Retail.
Programmes in Climate, Sustainability and Energy which are central to the Programme for Government are also being funded.
Courses are free for the unemployed, previously self-employed and returners to the workforce.
For others, 90 per cent of the course fee is funded by the government, with participants required to contribute just 10 per cent of the fee.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris said:
“This is providing brilliant opportunities for people to upskill and reskill in areas of skills shortages, futureproof their career, and progress in, or re-enter the workforce.
“Most programmes are delivered either fully online or in a blended format making them fully accessible, meeting the rapidly-evolving needs of our economy and our commitment to lifelong learning.
“Today’s announcement help us to ensure that our workforce is equipped to respond to the rapid changes in the world of work brought about by digitisation, with courses spanning areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity and Financial Technologies.
“They will also play a vital role in our response to the green transition by providing funding for programmes in areas such as Climate, Sustainability and Renewable Energy which will provide the skills needed to help us reach our ambitious 2030 targets for energy efficiency and decarbonisation.
The 11,000 courses consist of 8,291 places on 252 courses under Springboard+ 2023 and 2,922 places on 105 courses under Human Capital Initiative Pillar 1 Graduate Conversion Programmes for the academic year 2023/24.
Helpline – 1800 303 523
The Springboard+ system will open for course applications on today, 7th June.
Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline, which will go live in mid-June.
Candidates who wish to participate in Springboard+ 2023 or HCI Pillar 1 courses will find full details on the approved courses on the Springboard+ website. Applications are now open.