14,000 extra college places launched for ‘jobs-led recovery’

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Today (27 October), Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, launched 14,000 free or subsidised additional higher-education places.

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The places are worth more than €30m in total and are part of the Jobs Stimulus package announced in July of this year. They will help get people back to work, drive upskilling and “build economic confidence” in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of the 14,000 places, 11,597 will be in 538 short, flexible courses across 32 colleges. These will be geared towards people who want to gain skills but cannot afford to take long periods of time away from the labour market. They will be delivered as standalone modules that can also be used as “building blocks” to a full qualification.

A further 2,555 places will be in 207 different postgraduate courses across public and private colleges. Both modular and postgraduate courses will span data analytics, environmental sciences, engineering, tourism and hospitality, ICT and health.

Harris said that many of the available courses will focus on “futureproofing” the skills of workers, especially in jobs that may have been impacted by digitalisation. This will pave the way for a “jobs-led recovery”, he added, which puts upskilling and SME supports “centre stage”.

“The courses we are launching today will form a further response to the impacts of the global pandemic, providing upskilling and reskilling places for those who have been most affected and ensuring that they have the skills most needed by employers today,” he said.

“These courses will enable people across the country to embark on new pathways or refresh or reskill in their employment.

“This is exactly the kind of initiative we need to increase Irish university capacity to extract and adapt high-demand modules from existing programmes, and develop tailored courses to suit the needs of enterprise and lifelong learning.”

Harris has advised people interested in applying to the additional places to keep an eye out for details on the HEA website.

The €30m of free and subsidised higher education places under the Jobs Stimulus package will support the provision of 11,597 places on short, modular courses together with an additional 2,555 postgraduate places.https://t.co/StpT4bgwR7

— HEA (@hea_irl) October 27, 2020

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