Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) is to provide almost 250 third level places in nine targeted part-time, evening and blended courses, as part of a Government initiative designed to meet the skill needs of growth sectors in the Mid West economy. The Department of Education and Skills announced that a total of €930,000 has been allocated to provide courses up to postgraduate level at LIT for those currently in employment and those seeking employment who wish to grow their skill set in line with industry and the economy.

This means that a range of new courses are now coming on stream in high-demand areas, with fees being largely state-funded. The initiative comes under the newly restructured Springboard+ programme, and will fund 90% of the course cost for those in employment wishing to up-skill in the growth areas of I.T., aircraft, food and tourism, construction, and 3D visual effects.

For people not in employment, the courses are 100% funded. Courses at Level 6 are 100% funded for all applicants. Marian Duggan, Vice President of Equality & Diversity & Dean of Flexible Learning, said the increase in Springboard+ funding for 2018 highlights both the changing requirements of a growing economy and LIT’s ability and flexibility in meeting those requirements in the Mid West.

“A number of changes have been made to Springboard+, and this new structure reflects the ethos of LIT as it aims to equip people to meet skill needs in growth sectors of the local economy. This is a win/win for graduates and industry. The initiative also allows for flexible learning and inclusivity, which are at the core of LIT,” she said.

Dr Philip Hennessy, Head of the Department of Flexible Learning said the 85% increase in places available at LIT this year under this initiative points to the third level institution’s ability to meet the demands and requirements of industry and business in the Mid West. “What we are talking about here is giving access to funded courses that will advance people’s careers and support the Mid-West economy. “If we are to continue to sustain high tech jobs and growth in our economy the workforce must continuously up-skill. Given the growth of the IT sector in the Mid West it is not surprising that four courses in IT will be funded, including Enterprise Solutions Development, Creative Multi-media courses, and two courses in Software Development.

“Ireland, and indeed the Shannon region, continues to lead the way in aircraft leasing and so a programme in Aircraft Technical Services is now available in LIT. The success of our Food and Tourism sector means that a level 8 HDip in Arts in Food and Innovation Management has also been approved, as has a new programme in the very niche but growth sector of 3D Animation, to be delivered at Limerick School of Art and Design. ”

“The resurgence in construction ensures two courses – Building Information Modelling and ZERO energy – have also been included,” added Dr Hennessy. “All of these courses are very reflective of what is happening in our economy, and highlight the need for those both in employment and seeking employment to keep expanding and improving their skill set.”

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