Funding announced for micro-credentials courses

Fund will assist almost 14,000 learners as part of Year of Skills

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has this week announced funding of €9.7 million to subsidise fees for 13,879 learners across 654 micro-credential courses.

The Micro-Credential Course Learner Subsidy, under the HCI Pillar 3, offers a subsidy rate of 80 per cent for courses addressing skills in key priority areas, including renewable energy, sustainability, construction and planning, artificial intelligence, cyber security, ICT, and electronic engineering. Other courses will provide a 50 per cent learner subsidy rate.

“As part of the Year of Skills, we have been encouraging everyone to learn a new skill so they can evolve in line with how the world of work is changing," Minister Harris said this week.

“While traditional degree programmes are essential, they may not always be the right option to equip individuals with the targeted, up-to-date skills required in the modern workplace. Micro-credentials bridge this gap, offering a flexible and accessible solution to empower individuals in excelling in their chosen fields.

"These subsidies are a fantastic opportunity for individuals to access micro-credential courses at reduced rates, providing flexible learning and upskilling opportunities for learners and enterprises alike. Some courses also offer 'stackability,' encouraging learners to return and build upon their skills for further qualifications.

“It’s also important to note that that these courses cover critical areas such as new and emerging technologies, construction and climate/sustainability and energy, and align with the priorities outlined as part of Housing for All and the Government’s Climate Action Plan.”

Micro-credential courses, designed to meet the evolving needs of learners, enterprises, and society, offer small, accredited programmes awarding between 1 and 30 ECTS and provide awards at Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

The inherent flexibility of micro-credentials allows learners to access education in small, manageable units, accommodating their life and work commitments.

"These micro-credential courses offer incentivised lifelong learning opportunities for learners, and for employers to upskill their staff in a flexible bite sized format," said Dr Vivienne Patterson of HEA.

Approved courses are available from March 2024 to October 2025. Detailed information on the approved micro-credential courses funded under the HCI Pillar 3, Micro-Credential Course Learner Subsidy and how to apply can be found on the HEA website at www.hea.ie

 

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