Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Caitriona Jackman from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

Caitriona Jackman

Planetary Scientist

Smart Futures

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Caitriona Jackman
If you are considering full-time scientific research, try to get a work placement in a university department so you can see first hand what it’s like. It’s a relatively relaxed, flexible environment, but there is a certain degree of self-motivation needed. 

So I would say you need to be able to push  yourself and be proactive in terms of setting up collaborations with other scientists etc.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Springboard Courses now open to Homemakers and the Employed

For the first time Springboard courses will be available to the Employed

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, together with the Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills, John Halligan TD have issued a competitive call to all Higher Education providers for course proposals which will be funded under Springboard+ 2018.

Springboard+ forms part of the Action Plan for Education, which aims to make the Irish education and training system the best in Europe within a decade. 

Now in its eighth year, Springboard+ has to date provided 47,000 free higher education places, primarily to jobseekers in need of upskilling or reskilling to allow them to re-enter the labour market.

From last year, the eligibility criteria for Springboard+ was expanded to include homemakers and those in employment who wished to upskill or reskill to meet specific emerging skills needs in the ICT and Biopharma/Med Tech sectors.

This year, for the first time, Springboard+ courses will be extended so that all courses will now be open to people irrespective of their employment status.

  • Level 6 courses will remain free to all participants.
  • Returners and those in receipt of certain allowances, including Jobseekers Benefit, will continue to be able to access courses free of charge.
  • For employed participants on courses NFQ level 7 – 9, 90% of the course fee will be funded by the Government, with participants required to contribute just 10% of the fee.

This change reflects the Government’s emphasis on the importance of lifelong learning and upskilling/reskilling throughout one’s career.

Minister Bruton said “Springboard+ has proven extremely successful in preparing people to return to work during difficult economic times. As the economy recovered we expanded eligibility to those in employment who wished to work in the ICT and Medtech/Biopharma sectors. Since 2017 homemakers who wished to return to the workforce were also eligible.  In addition to those already eligible for Springboard +, this year for the first time, access will be available for those in employment  to the full range of Springboard+ courses, giving them the opportunity to upskill or reskill in areas of identified skills needs within the economy.

Springboard+ is a key part of the Government’s strategy to ensure we are planning for the future skills needs of our economy, which is critical to delivering on our ambitions as a nation. We need to continue to focus on ways to address skills needs that are arising due to both the changing world of work, and our welcome move towards full employment.”

Minister Halligan said “Springboard+ has been particularly successful at giving people the skills to get back into the workforce. 80% of Springboard+ participants (2011 – 2016) are no longer on the Live Register. I am delighted that, while continuing to support the unemployed and those seeking to return to the labour market, from 2018 we will be able to facilitate people in employment to avail of this initiative.”

The initiative is funded through the National Training Fund and the European Social Fund.

What is Springboard+

Springboard+ provides free and 90% funded full-time and part-time higher education courses in areas where there are identified skills needs and/or employment opportunities. Courses to date have been delivered in areas such ICT, Manufacturing  which includes the biopharma sector, Construction, Entrepreneurship, Cross-Enterprise Skills, the Hospitality Sector and International Financial Services.

Springboard+ courses which are at level 6 (higher certificate) to level 9 (masters degree) on the National Framework of Qualifications, are delivered by public and private higher education providers around the country.

Springboard+ incorporates the ICT skills conversion programme. 

Candidates who wish to participate in Springboard+ 2018 will find full details on the approved courses on the dedicated information and applications website  during June 2018.

For up-to-date information on skills shortages and occupations in demand in the Labour Market please click here.

To search Springboard Courses: click here

Information sourced from 

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