Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, has welcomed the announcement made today (Monday) by Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn TD, that 6,100 Springboard courses will be available in 2014/15. In particular Deputy Lawlor welcomed changes made to the scheme which will now allow people to apply for a course as soon as they become unemployed.
“I welcome today’s announcement of 6,100 new Springboard courses for 2014/15. In particular I welcome the flexibility of the scheme allowing people to apply for Springboard the minute they lose their job. Previously you had to be long term unemployed to apply for a Springboard course and although people who have been on the live register for a long time will still be prioritised, the opening up of the scheme to everyone is a welcome change.
“Whilst, I understand the need to prioritise those who are unemployed long term, the old system didn’t necessarily benefit all those desperately seeking re-entry to the work place. In particular I found there were people who, technically speaking, were out of permanent work for a long period of time, but chose to take seasonal, temporary work whenever it became available and therefore were excluded from such schemes as going back on the live register meant they lost their long term unemployed status. This clause was very unfair as such people were showing great initiative by trying to work and yet were being punished from further enhancing their skills.
“The extension of the Springboard scheme to include all unemployed people should be welcomed, particularly at this time of year when seasonal work is becoming more readily available and when the courses available will be commencing in September. This will now allow people to take up work during the summer months if it is offered without fear of exclusion from college courses in 2014/15.
“I am also delighted to learn that work placement will now be available on almost all of the 170 courses available as this is an important element of up-skilling. With 38 colleges offering a wide variety of courses to prospective students, including NUI Maynooth in my own constituency of Kildare North, there are great opportunities available”.