Ninety free college places have been made available at WIT for people recently made unemployed as a result of the economic downturn.

The opportunities exist on the Institute’s part time degree courses in Applied Computing, Electronic Engineering, Pharmaceutical Science, Finance and Investment and Information Technology. The courses vary between three and four years in length.

Under the new Government initiative, announced last week by Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe TD, fees will not be charged for these selected part-time courses and applicants will be entitled to retain their social welfare payments while on the course. Normally for part-time education, tuition fees would be in place.

The news has been welcomed by Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, who said the Government initiative would enable institutes and colleges across the country to take on a critical role in helping unemployed workers develop the type of skills they need to get back into the labour force.

“The awards from WIT are recognised worldwide and graduates of the Institute occupy senior positions in major companies in Ireland and the EU. Further education is important because of the number of opportunities that become available with a college education”, the Minister noted. “I would encourage those who are unemployed and who have an interest in further education to contact WIT directly.”

Applicants will be asked to confirm that they have a claim for a jobseeker’s payment of at least six months or else provide a copy of form RP50 confirming they are entitled to statutory redundancy from their most recent employment.