Over 900 free and part-funded places at AIT announced

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins have launched 10,158 places on 294 courses under Springboard+ 2021.

In addition, 1,101 places on 1- and 2-year ICT graduate conversion courses are also on offer under the initiative.

AIT, Ireland’s next technological university following a merger with LIT and soon to be known as Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, has been awarded 929 of those places across Springboard+ and ICT skills upskilling programmes, representing more than €4m in supported learning to be availed off by the Athlone campus through this initiative.

Fully funded or part-funded places have been supported on 25 industry-focused programmes, ranging from level 6 through to level 9 on the national framework of qualifications. All programmes will be delivered in an online part-time, flexible mode.

This allocation represents a great endorsement of the work taking place towards delivering industry relevant and job relevant programmes, designed in conjunction with industry and Ireland's national skills polices, across all faculties at AIT.

All programmes are now available to prospective learners looking to upskill, change career or return to employment at www.ait.ie or www.aitflexiblelearning.ie

Dr Michael Tobin, Dean of Faculty, Continuing, Professional, Online and Distance Learning at AIT, stated: “In these difficult times, it is great to see the level of support from the government to support part-time learning and specifically upskilling initiatives through this call. In all, we have received a 9% increase in learner places and 18% increase in potential income to €4m +.”

“Once again AIT has received over 8.5% of all programmes to be offered nationally, putting it very definitely in the top tier of institutions delivering part-time flexible online and relevant upskilling programmes nationally,” he added.

In 2020/21, AIT was the highest higher education institute in receipt of this funding. Some 852 students from 26 counties employed across 681 companies benefited from the Springboard + and ICT skills places.

Amid a global pandemic and being the sole higher education institute in the Midlands, AIT is uniquely positioned to meet the current and future skills needs of industry and play an integral role supplying a talent pipeline of highly skilled, flexible workers - ultimately ensuring the continued growth and success of the region.

Springboard + facilitates the continued growth and development of the Irish workforce, helping future-proof career prospects by keeping learner’s skills and knowledge up-to-date, which in turn boosts professional credibility and employability.

Springboard+ and ICT Skills programmes are free for people who are unemployed, those who were previously self-employed and returners to the workforce. Programmes are also free for people in employment, on NFQ Level 6 programmes.

For employed participants on programmes NFQ level 7 – 9, participants are only required to contribute 10% of the fee, while 90% of the course fee is funded by the government.

Springboard+ applications open from Wednesday, 16 June. “People should apply as early as possible as demand was strong last year,” Seadna Ryan, Head of Department of Lifelong Learning at AIT, explained.

Full details of approved Springboard+ programmes are available at www.aitflexiblelearning.ie or directly on springboardcourses.ie by selecting ‘Athlone Institute of Technology’ programmes.