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Information to assist course providers in submitting proposals in 2018

This Question and Answer document aims to support prospective Springboard+ course providers in preparing proposals for this year’s Call. In the event of further queries from providers, this document will be updated, and new versions will be flagged by the appropriate date (this version = 7 January 2019).

Providers should review all of the information circulated by the HEA for the Call Process as a number of changes have been made. In addition, a specific Q&A and presentation was circulated relating to the Call document which can guide preparation of submissions.

All questions on the Call should be directed to springboard@hea.ie.

Information will be made available in due course on participant eligibility criteria and related matters for Springboard+.

What outcomes will be taken into account when evaluating this year's call?

Primarily the expert panel will review outcomes for 2017/18. However, where 2017/18 outcomes are not available (i.e. the course did not run in 2017/18) the panel will revert to the previous or most recent year’s outcomes.

Given the strong emphasis on work placement as part of Springboard courses, what will be the approach taken for entrepreneurship courses preparing people for start-ups, self- employment, running their own business, where a traditional type of work placement with an employer doesn’t necessarily fit with the content and objectives of the course?

Relevant work placement experience remains an important component of all Springboard courses, including those focusing on entrepreneurship, business start-up, supporting job creators and self-employment. As in previous years, courses with demonstrable strong interaction between participants and employers/entrepreneurs are more likely to be successful. Springboard entrepreneurship courses with strong subsequent employment/self-employment outcomes to-date have included placement experiences for participants with companies of all types to develop their skills, including delivering business/commercial/industrial projects on a consultancy basis as well as standard work placement in a relevant company/industry setting.

Does the limit of 17 contact hours for part-time courses refer to on-campus tuition only?

The requirement for Springboard+ part-time courses is that ‘class contact hours’ do not exceed 17 hours per week.

Are hours spent on work placement subject to the weekly limit of 17 class contact hours?

This limit applies to the teaching component of a Springboard+ course and is linked to the requirement that Springboard+ courses are offered on a part-time basis. The requirement does not extend to work placement/internship.

Are there a maximum number of credits a participant can undertake on a Springboard+ course?

As Springboard+ courses will vary in duration there is no maximum limit on the number of credits to be awarded. However, part-time courses must adhere to the requirement that class contact does not exceed 17 hours per week.

What is the maximum length of a Springboard+ course?

Courses offered can be no longer than 12 months in duration with the exception of the two-year, part-time ICT conversion programmes.

Does the maximum 12 month’s duration include the work placement as well the educational component?

No, the 12 months duration refers to the educational component only. This does not include proposals for 2-year part-time ICT courses.

Do Springboard+ participants have to do an internship or work placement?

The requirement for work placement/internship to be offered for Springboard+ is not mandatory for non-ICT Skills Conversion courses. However, all Springboard+ courses must continue to include a dedicated job readiness/job preparation component. Details of this provision will be required as part of course proposals. A work placement or internship opportunity is strongly encouraged on part-time courses, excluding entrepreneurship courses, over 90% of Springboard courses approved in 2018/19 included a work placement. ICT Skills conversion Courses must include a Work Placement element or a work-based project.

What is the average work placement length?

Work placements offered to date, ranged from three weeks up to nine months.

When will the eligibility criteria for participants for this year be available?

The outline participant eligibility criteria is available the 2019/20 Call document but further clarification will be made available in advance of this year’s opening for applications from prospective participants.

Can providers offer places on courses to non-Springboard+ participants?

Funding for approved courses will be for eligible Springboard+ participants only. Overall student numbers on courses may include non-Springboard+ participants. Setting of fees for non-Springboard+ students on part-time courses is a matter for higher education providers.

Can a proposal include matched funding from employers?

Collaboration with employers is strongly encouraged, and this can extend to contribution of resources. The figures contained in Section 5 of the template (Cost and Value for Money) should detail the cost to be borne by the provider.

The costings for Springboard+ are based on a fee per student. However, if the allocated places are not filled it can result in higher costs for providers. Can an allowance be made for fixed costs?

Allocation of funding for approved courses this year will continue to be on the basis of the cost per student as set out in Section 5 of the course proposal template. Course proposers are advised to give careful consideration to target enrolment and strategies to market course places locally and regionally.

Are FETAC Level 6 programmes eligible for Springboard+ funding?

The Springboard+ initiative is for higher education awards and so does not include courses leading to FETAC awards.

Can an individual school/department in a college register as an Administrator on SkillsDirect, the online proposal submission system?

SkillsDirect provides for a single, coordinating ‘Administrator’ per college who has the facility to register an unlimited number of others on the system as ‘Users’.

We have a course which is offered as a level 7 and level 8 evening course. Do we need to make two applications for the two different levels?

A provider should make a separate application for the two different levels as they will have different participant groups. You should note, all course proposals must be stand alone and progression from a previous Springboard+ offering cannot be the sole means of participation.

Can I get access to course proposals my college submitted to Springboard in previous years?

The proposals submitted under Springboard in previous years are still accessible through http://skillsdirect2015.hea.ie/ (2015), http://skillsdirect2016.hea.ie/ (2016), http://skillsdirect2017.hea.ie/ (2017), and http://skillsdirect2018.hea.ie/ (2018). You will need your username and password from that year to gain access.

Where can I see information on Springboard+ course costs in previous year(s)?

Information on average costs is available in the evaluation of Springboard+. All evaluations published to date are available at www.springboardcourses.ie/reports .

Does the job readiness component of a Springboard+ course have to be credit based?

It is not a requirement that job readiness training is credit-based but it is encouraged.

Can providers arrange work placement as a block at the end of a course?

There are no specific requirements on when work placement is completed by participants; however, it must be formally linked to a Springboard+ course for participants to be deemed eligible to continue to receive income support while on a work placement.

Appendix 1 on average costs per Skills Category and NFQ Level should be replaced by this table:

Appendix 1