Are Springboard+ Courses Free? Everything You Need to Know about Eligibility Requirements

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Springboard+ courses qualify students in growing industry sectors with a high demand for new personnel. These courses cater specifically to those actively seeking work, individuals returning to the workforce, and other non-traditional students with a variety of study options available. 

Part-time courses and blended learning options give jobseekers and working individuals the flexibility to continue pursuing their work endeavours as they expand opportunities with practical new skills. 

What is a Springboard+ Course?

The objective of Springboard+ is to offer free and highly subsidised educational and reskilling programmes through higher education in areas where there is a recognised requirement for skills. The courses are particularly focused on providing upskilling opportunities to those who are unemployed or receiving a social welfare payment.

Springboard+ supplements the primary Irish educational and training system and is one of a variety of initiatives created to assist individuals in returning to employment, enhance the skills of those in employment, and to develop the supply of qualified graduates to meet the present and future skill needs of the Irish economy.

Learn more about what a springboard course is through our blog on the topic.

Reasons to study a Springboard+ Course

Students can gain a number of advantages by enrolling in a Springboard course. These courses provide free or heavily discounted higher education programmes to those looking to gain new skills or to update their existing skill set, thereby enabling them to re-enter the workforce, increase their employability, ensuring that the Irish economy has an adequate supply of skilled graduates to meet its current and future needs.

Are Springboard+ Courses Free?

Springboard programmes at NFQ Level 6 are fully funded by Springboard, regardless of the employment status of the individual. 

Programmes at Level 7 and above are fully funded for those who are Returners or seeking work and receiving an eligible benefit. For those in employment, Springboard covers 90% of the course fees, with the student, or their employer, responsible for funding the remaining 10%.

All Springboard+ programmes at Level 6 are also fully funded by Springboard+. Programmes at Level 7 and higher are fully funded for Returners and those seeking work and on an eligible benefit. For those in employment, there is a 10% ‘contribution fee’, which is 10% of the overall cost of the course. 

Please note that this fee varies from programme to programme; so, if you are interested in a specific course, please contact the Admissions Team at Innopharma Education who will be able to assist you.

Springboard Courses Eligibility Requirements

1. Springboard+ Residency Requirements

For employed applicants, to demonstrate eligibility for springboard courses, you must prove that you have been living in the EU/EEA/UK/Switzerland for a minimum of 3 out of the last 5 years. For Returner applicants and those seeking employment on an eligible benefit, there is no minimum residency requirement.  


Documentation Required

Documents that applicants can submit to demonstrate their residency, include 

  • Revenue Documents
  • Utility bills
  • Higher education transcripts
  • A letter from your current employer on headed paper dated within 6 weeks of course commencement will also suffice. This must have the applicant’s name, address (same as on Springboard application), PPS number, and commencement date of employment.  

2. Springboard+ Education Requirements

Innopharma programmes range from Level 6 to Level 9 with different academic eligibility criteria for each Level. Please contact the Innopharma Education team with any questions you have on eligibility.  

The rules and requirements applicants should be mindful of in relation to doing more than one Springboard course

  • You can take a maximum of three Springboard+ courses in any five-year period. After that, you will need to wait 2 years before enrolling on another Springboard+ course. 
  • If you have failed to successfully complete two Springboard+ courses in the past, you are ineligible to apply again for a period of 2 years. 
  • If you have taken two courses in the past but were unsuccessful in the second, you are ineligible to apply again for a period of 2 years. 

Documentation Required

All Innopharma applicants are required to provide:

  • An up-to-date CV. 
  • Applicants for programmes at Level 7 or higher must also provide official academic transcripts. 
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also provide proof of English proficiency through either an official test or previous study through English. 
  • Any additional documents required will be communicated to the applicant by the Innopharma Education team. 

3. Springboard+ Employment Requirements

To meet the eligibility requirements for funding for a Springboard programme, an applicant would need to be in employment, self-employed, formerly self-employed, job-seeking and receiving an eligible benefit, a recent graduate, or a Returner.  

Documentation Required

To prove employment status applicants must submit one document from the category relevant to them:  

  • Employed – A current payslip (redacted) or employer letter on company letterhead confirming employment dated within 6 weeks of course commencement. 
  • Self-Employed - Letter from accountant or revenue confirming your status, dated no more than six weeks from course commencement. 
  • Formerly Self-Employed - Letter from Revenue/accountant no longer trading, dated no more than six weeks from course commencement. 
  • Job seekers - Letter from DSP or payment slip, dated no more than two weeks from course commencement. 
  • Recent Graduate – Official academic transcripts or parchment. 
  • Returners - HEA Returners Declaration, dated no more than six weeks from course commencement. 

4. Springboard+ Social Welfare Requirements

To be eligible for Springboard funding an applicant must be receiving a Springboard eligible benefit the day their chosen course begins.  

Springboard accept the following social welfare payments: 

  • Job seekers Benefit 
  • Transitional job seekers Payment 
  • Job seekers Allowance 
  • One Parent Family 
  • Disability Allowance 
  • Qualified Adults of Working Age 
  • Carers Allowance 
  • Farm Assist/Fish Assist 
  • Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Contributory or Non-contributory Pension 
  • Blind Pension 
  • Deserted Wives Allowance 
  • If you are signing for social insurance contribution credits, you can also apply. 

It is important to discuss your intention to apply for a Springboard course with your DSP Case Officer before applying. Only they can confirm whether taking a course will/will not affect your DSP payment. 

Documentation Required

  • Applicants will be required to supply proof of their DSP payment receipt or a letter from the DSP confirming their payment dated no more than 2 weeks course commencement. 


How to Apply for a Springboard+ Course?

To apply for a Springboard course with Innopharma Education, you will need to make a Springboard account if you don’t already have one. You will then need to complete the application form for the course. Be sure to have your CV ready as you will need to upload this with your application. 


adults students in a class taking notes


Courses offered by Innopharma Education are often offered regionally, so when applying, be sure to select the application form for the location you want to study in. 

Once Innopharma Education have received your Springboard application, a dedicated Programme Manager from the relevant location will contact the applicant directly to further discuss the course and answer any questions you may have.  

Why Study a Springboard Course with Innopharma Education?

Innopharma Education provides courses in rapidly expanding industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food science and digital transformation. Through these free or heavily subsidised courses, individuals are able to upskill or reskill, thus facilitating their return to employment, as well as providing progression opportunities for those already in employment.

Innopharma Education has established and maintained strong relationships with the industry. Through these connections, as well as having many lecturers who are working within the industry, students are provided with a unique insight in the classroom and when searching for employment.

We have dedicated Programme Managers for each region and programme. These Programme Managers are available for student support throughout the course and work individually with students on CVs and interview skills.  

We also provide programmes funded by the Human Capital Initiative 


Whether you’re hoping to pursue a certificate course or higher-level ones, like a master's degree, Innopharma Education has plenty of options for your needs. 

Ready to explore your options? Explore all our Springboard courses.

If you still have questions, speak to someone from our team today!

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