Ireland offers free courses for workers affected by COVID-19

These free courses will help workers affected by the pandemic to upskill for free or at a subsidised rate.

By U2B Staff 

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Here’s some welcome news for those in Ireland whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19: The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science recently announced that it is offering over 14,000 subsidised and free courses for returners to the workforce, those in employment and recent graduates. 

The €30 million initiative under the Jobs Stimulus package aims 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 along with an additional 2,555 postgraduate places across a wide range of subjects.

Focused and flexible free courses 

Modular courses are short and focused and will be offered in a flexible manner, making it useful for those who want to upskills without taking prolonged time off from work.

“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,” said the statement.

A total of 538 modular courses across a broad range of subjects in 32 higher education institutions are currently on offer.

These include areas such as food safety and risk management, marketing, sales, leisure and spa management, social media and E-business, data analytics, strategic business IT, among others. 


The 2,555 postgraduate places will be on 207 existing courses in 23 public and private higher education institutions, including Athlone Institute of Technology, CCT College Dublin, Dublin Business School, Galway Business School and Griffith College.

Some of the postgraduate courses on offer include a Postgraduate Diploma in Green Engineering, MSc Business Analytics, MSc Fintech, MBA in Project Management, Graduate Certificate in Management (Business) and Professional Diploma in Applied Alternative Investments.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said many of the courses launched 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 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.”

Eligibility of applicants

According to the statement, all participants — with the exception of people looking to return to the workforce — will contribute 10% of the course cost.

Those receiving Department of Social Protection payments, including Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), will be eligible to undertake part-time courses for free.


“Eligible participants must have at least a level 8 qualification or equivalent prior to acceptance onto a course. Exact academic eligibility requirements will be determined by individual providers and may depend on the nature of the course,” said the statement.

Applicants must also be ordinarily resident in Ireland and must meet the nationality and EU residency rules as aligned to Springboard as detailed here.