Friday, October 30, 2020

University of Limerick is to receive almost €2.3m to provide extra places under the Government’s Jobs Stimulus package.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris announced over €30 million for free and subsidised higher education places under the package to help get people back to work, upskill workers and build economic confidence while continuing to manage the impact of COVID-19.

The funding has been approved to support the provision of 11,597 places on short, modular courses together with an additional 2,555 postgraduate places nationally.

UL will receive €1,218,850 for 180 places under the postgraduate skills provision and funding for 910 places, valued at €1,0295m, for modular skills – for a total of almost €2.3m.

UL President Professor Kerstin Mey said: “The world has changed dramatically as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures outlined within the July stimulus package shows Government’s commitment to driving a post-pandemic recovery. Education, critical thinking and innovation are all key to that.

“At UL we have mobilised, like many other HEIs, and responded to the health crisis. Our community has worked hard to assist front-line services and civil engagement during the past months and now we can see that further education is one of most powerful currencies we have. Teaching and learning has been transformed and these extra places offered under the stimulus package will assist in delivering the next cohort of change-makers who can help our society recovery and thrive again,” added Professor Mey.

Minister Harris said: “The higher education sector has responded swiftly and effectively to the challenges that have arisen over recent months. 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. Many courses focus on future proofing the skills of those in employment, particularly in roles that may be impacted by digitalisation.

“These courses will enable people across the country to embark on new pathways, or refresh or reskill in their employment. We must ensure a jobs led recovery by putting upskilling and SME supports centre stage. This is a crucial part of the jigsaw,” he added.

The 2,555 postgraduate places will be on 207 existing courses in 23 public and private higher education institutions. The places are available on courses in a wide range of skills areas, including Data Analytics, Environmental Sciences, Engineering, Tourism and Hospitality, ICT and Health and welfare.

Modular courses are short and focused and will be offered in a flexible manner, allowing people to gain important skills without taking a considerable period away from the labour market.

Each module will be stand-alone so that participants can gain skills and put them into practice immediately in the workplace, but modules are also accredited in such a way as to provide building blocks to a full qualification should the student so wish.

These 538 modular courses across a broad range of subjects in 32 higher education institutions, represent a new route into lifelong learning, and provide upskilling and reskilling opportunities for those who need it, while ensuring that they remain close to the labour market.

The Minister said: “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.”

Alan Wall, CEO of the Higher Education Authority said: “It is great to see the HEA working in partnership with higher education institutions to unlock the flexibility of third level in dealing with difficult times.”

Applications will be opening soon for these programmes. For more information, please contact