INOU hosts launch of Springboard 2012/13 Higher Education Initiative
21 May 2012
Today, the INOU, on behalf of the Higher Education Authority, hosted the launch of the Springboard 2012/13 Higher Education Initiative. The initiative provides for 6,000 new higher education places for unemployed people. Ruairí Quinn, TD, Minister for Education and Skills and Ciaran Cannon, TD, Minister for State at the Department of Education and Skills attended the launch, together with representatives from the Higher Education Authority, employer representatives and a number of participants from Springboard courses.
In addition to hosting the launch, the INOU is also hosting the new Springboard Freephone Line (1800 303523) which will be staffed by experienced Guidance Counsellors recruited by the HEA.
"The INOU was delighted to be approached by the Higher Education Authority about the possibility of our collaborating with the HEA on what, I'm sure, will be a key feature of this year's Springboard Initiative - the provision of a Freephone Guidance Line to assist unemployed people with course choices and applications," said Ann Fergus, INOU Chairperson.
"We're very pleased to be able to host the Freephone Line and the Guidance Counsellors here in the INOU. We see this part of the overall initiative as being of great importance and value to unemployed people in their efforts to access quality education and training options. The social welfare system is complex and unemployed people often need access to a comprehensive guidance and information service and we are confident that this joint working between the INOU and the HEA will provide such a service," Ann noted.
Specific areas where the INOU will offer assistance and support will include:
- The provision of support on welfare-related queries that arise via the Information Line;
- The provision of ongoing welfare rights and qualification criteria updates to helpline staff, and;
- Where relevant, the provision of an active referral to the helpline to users of the INOU's information service enquiring about education/further education options.