Springboard+ Courses: What are they, and are you eligible?

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Springboard+ courses are one of the most important initiatives to help unemployed people return to education and find highly paid jobs. Springboard+offers free courses at certificate, degree and masters. Best of all, these are all in areas where there are plenty of jobs.

Courses on offer

The aim of Springboard+ courses is twofold: to help people find well-paying jobs, and to fill skills gaps in the economy. Because of this, all their courses lead to qualifications in sectors where there is a need for skilled personnel.

Springboard+ courses offer qualifications in sectors such as:

  • Information and communications technology (ICT)
  • Manufacturing
  • International financial services
  • Key skills for enterprise to trade internationally

Qualifications are also available in cross-enterprise skills such as innovation, enterprise, entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and project management.

Most Springboard+ courses are part-time. However, a number of the courses available are ICT Conversion courses, which can be one year full-time or two year part-time.

Are you eligible for a Springboard+ part-time course?

Briefly, Springboard+ part-time courses are for people who have lost their jobs. However, it is not quite that straightforward.

First of all, you need to have a history of employment. If you have never worked, you won’t be eligible.

In addition to a history of employment, you have to satisfy ONE of the following three criteria:

1. Receive a payment from the Department of Social Protection. This includes Jobseekers Benefit; Jobseekers Allowance; One Parent Family; Disability Allowance; Qualified Adults of Working Age and more.

2. Be signing for social insurance contribution credits OR

3. Be previously self-employed

Furthermore, you need to be actively seeking employment.

People participating in the Community Employment Scheme; the Rural Social Scheme; Ts; or in receipt of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance or the Short Term Enterprise Allowance may apply for Springboard+ and, with the approval of a Department of Social Protection Case Officer, take up a Springboard+ course.

Are you eligible for a Postgraduate course?

To participate in a National Framework of Qualifications Level 9 (Post Graduate) course, a period of at least one year must have elapsed since completing a full time undergraduate degree course leading to a major award at Level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

ICT Skills Conversion courses

Over 50 of the Springboard+ courses on offer are free, full-time or part-time conversion courses in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). These conversion courses are open to suitably qualified applicants, regardless of employment status.

The one-year full-time ICT Skills Conversion courses are also available to graduates (including recent graduates) with an honours degree in a cognate discipline. A cognate discipline is a course that is in a different field – in this case, ICT skills – but is related or connected in some way.

Employed people may be eligible for the two-year part-time ICT Conversion courses. However, these courses are not available for people who are unemployed and in receipt of a jobseekers payment. However, if you receive other social protection payments, such as the One Parent Family or Disability Allowance, you may be able to do the two-year course.

You’ll also need to have the ability to follow an intensive programme of study and work-experience. It’ll be tough going, but worth it. You will acquire industry-relevant ICT and software development skills.


The NFQ recognises all Springboard+ courses. The courses lead to qualifications at Level 6, Level 7, Level 8 or Level 9 on the framework.


Anne Sexton

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  1. Patrick Msendema 10th December 2016 at 3:50 am

    I would like to study through ICT Skills Conversion courses

    I am currently employed and I have an advanced Diploma in IT (City and Guilds of London Institute). I would like to study an Undergraduate degree program in Information Systems

    Please let me know if am eligible

    Kind regards
    Patrick Msendema

    1. Anne Sexton 12th December 2016 at 8:58 am

      Hi Patrick, you will need to confirm your eligibility with the course provider. Best of luck with your studies!

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