Athlone IT to offer 115 free places to jobless workers in September

Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT ) will offer 115 free part-time undergraduate college places for unemployed workers in September as part of a labour market activation initiative announced by the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe.

The new one to two-year college places in AIT are in courses covering sustainable construction, mechanical engineering and renewable energy, applied accounting, GMP and technology, toxicology, chemistry, and biotechnology.

The new places in AIT are part of the Government’s efforts to retrain and upskill the labour force.

Announcing details of the move, Minister O’Keeffe said; “AIT has responded to the call by the Government to provide places that directly meet the challenges of the new economy.

“The courses in AIT selected for inclusion in our labour market activation initiative are specifically aimed at upskilling and reskilling workers for jobs in the sectors of the economy we consider key to tackling the recession and driving economic growth,” said Minister O’Keeffe.

AIT is one of 13 institutes of technology taking part in the initiative, with four universities and the National College of Ireland also involved in providing places for unemployed workers.

“The third-level sector has a critical role to play in helping unemployed workers develop the type of skills they need to get back into the labour force. Part-time courses are more suited to the circumstances of workers who are unemployed and want to be able to re-enter the labour force as soon as possible.

“Unemployed workers who want to apply for a place on one of these courses should contact the college directly. Applicants will be asked to confirm that they’ve a claim for a jobseeker’s payment of at least six months or else provide a copy of form RP50 confirming they’re entitled to statutory redundancy from their most recent employment. They’ll be entitled to retain their social welfare payments while on the course.

“Tuition fees will not be charged for these courses which will vary between one and four years in length. Students who get a job before their course finishes won’t have to pay tuition costs for that academic year. However, we’d hope that they’d choose to finish their course even after getting a job,” said Minister O’Keeffe. 


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