Six thousand new college places are being made available to unemployed people as part of the Springboard initiative, it was announced today.
The courses, which are free and part-time, are in growth sectors like ICT, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
This year there is a particular emphasis on collaborating with industry in sectors where jobs are available.
"They're designed to specifically assess the needs of people who have recently become unemployed, who were in work, who have skills, but whose skills perhaps may not be relevant for what vacancies now exist in the marketplace," said Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn.
Six thousand places in all, a lot of them in ICT [information and communications technology], in the pharma sector, and also there's conversion courses for somebody, say a quantity surveyor who was in the construction sector … who has a set of skills and needs to sort of 'move sideways'."