Higher Educations Authority Allocates €9.7 Million for Micro-Credential Course Subsidies

12 Mar, 2024

Min read

female student and man studying together sitting down

Minister Simon Harris TD, has unveiled a HEA funding initiative of €9.7 million to support 13,879 learners across 654 micro-credential courses.

This initiative, known as the Micro-Credential Course Learner Subsidy under the HCI Pillar 3, provides an 80% subsidy rate for courses targeting skills in critical areas such as cyber security, ICT, sustainability, construction, artificial intelligence, and electronic engineering. 

Minister Harris highlighted the importance of adapting to the evolving workplace by acquiring new skills, emphasizing the role of micro-credentials in providing targeted and up-to-date expertise. He noted that while traditional degree programs are valuable, they may not always meet the specific needs of modern industries.

Micro-credentials offer a flexible and accessible avenue for individuals to excel in their chosen fields. The subsidies provided present a valuable opportunity for learners and enterprises to access these courses at reduced rates, fostering both upskilling and flexible learning opportunities.

Furthermore, some courses offer 'stackability,' enabling learners to progressively build upon their skills for further qualifications. The Minister emphasized that these courses cover critical areas aligned with national priorities such as new technologies, cyber security, climate sustainability, and energy.

Dr. Vivienne Patterson of the HEA emphasized the significance of micro-credential courses in providing incentivized lifelong learning opportunities for both learners and employers. These courses are designed to meet the evolving needs of learners, enterprises, and society, offering small, accredited programs ranging from 1 to 30 ECTS credits and awards at Levels 6-9 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

The flexibility inherent in micro-credentials allows learners to pursue education in manageable units, accommodating their personal and professional commitments.

Jacqueline Kehoe, Manager At Cyber Skills welcomed the new funding.

"Micro-credentials provide a concise learning format that is both convenient for learners and beneficial for businesses. We understand that businesses and employees often encounter challenges in participating in and committing to upskilling initiatives. These obstacles can range from financial constraints and time limitations to concerns about relevance and uncertainty regarding available programs. We believe this funding will make our cyber security courses even more accessible. We will be reducing the price of our courses immediately to allow students to avail of this generous funding.”

Approved courses will be 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 application procedures can be found on the HEA website. www.hea.ie

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