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What Next : How to get involved in adult learning?

Further education, training and unemployment


What further education and training initiatives have been introduced to meet the unemployment challenge?

The main organisations charged with co-ordinating further education and training around the country are the Education and Training Boards, which were established on July 1st 2013. The ETBs will co-ordinate the activities of former VECs as well as FÁS Training Centres.  For a full list of ETBs and their locations click here

In addition to the further education and training services co-ordinated by ETBs, from time to time the government introduces specific initiatives to target unemployment.  

Skills Plus

A range of initiatives have been introduced over the past three years which aim to help people who are unemployed to gain skills or retrain and enhance their prospects of employment.  Skills Plus brings together the programmes and intiatives which form part of the governments upskilling strategy.  Keep an eye on their websites as these initiatives may be run at certain times of the year.  They include: 


Springboard offers free part-time higher education places providing re-training opportunities for jobseekers.  Three rounds of Springboard have been launched to to equip jobseekers with new skills in sectors with good employment prospects.  The courses focus on growth areas such as Information Technology, Communication, International Languages and International Financial Services.  Programmes will also allow people to acquire qualifications in areas such as Six Sigma, international selling, business start-up and entrepreneurship skills. Courses are free, part-time, and are at certificate, degree and postgraduate level. Applications can be made on A Freephone Guidance line 1800 303523 is in place to assist people with course choices and applications. (The Freephone line is open from May until late September/October)


Following its launch in December 2012 MOMENTUM is assisting 6,500 long term unemployed jobseekers to gain in-demand skills and to access work in sectors of the economy where there are job opportunities. The programmes include on-the job training in the form of work experience modules as well as the development of the workplace skills required to obtain and retain employment. Education and training providers from both the private and public sector are offering MOMENTUM programmes in 87 locations across the country. These projects are in the expanding employment areas of ICT, digital media, healthcare and social services, the green economy, food processing and sales and marketing.  Specific projects are also available for those under 25 to assist them to enter or return to employment. 

Courses are free, full and part-time and are aligned to levels 3 to 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) or to an industry required certification within the sector. The projects range in duration from 11 weeks – 45 weeks.  For more information and a full list of courses visit or contact yourlocal EmploymentServices/Intreo office.

ICT Conversion courses

The  ICT plan launched on Monday 30th February 2012 involves a number of higher education providers now offering various Level 8 Conversion Programmes which will provide graduates from other skills areas with the opportunity to up-skill or re-skill through a one year full time HDip Conversion Programme in core computing/programming skills.  €5 million for a second round of additional places under this measure was announced as part of Budget 2013.

To read more about whats happening in further education and training, visit our policy section or read our press releases.

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Last Updated: 13/02/2014 ^ back to top