Minister Harris announces funding of €9.7 million to subsidise micro-cred courses for almost 14,000 learners as part of Year of Skills

Maura O'Shea

By Maura O'Shea

Posted: 12 March, 2024

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today 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.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “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.

“While traditional degree programs 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 programs awarding between 1 and 30 ECTS and provide awards at Levels 6-9 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.

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

Courses approved 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 HCI Pillar 3 Micro-Credentials Learner Fee Subsidy | Skills and Engagement | Higher Education Authority (

Notes to the Editor

Background – HCI Pillar 3 Micro-Credential Course Learner Subsidy

HCI Pillar 3 is being used to subsidise learner fees across a range of micro-credentials. This subsidisation will support increased participation in micro-credential courses, by reducing the learner fee to undertake a micro-credential course.

These proposed Higher Education Micro-Credential courses, ranging from 1 to 30 ECTs and Levels 6-9 on the National Framework of Qualifications, stand as independent courses designed to enhance participants’ employability upon completion. Some courses even offer the potential for “stackability,” encouraging learners to return for further qualifications.



A total of 21 applications were received requesting a learner subsidy for 13,879 places on 654 courses, in the broad ISCED categories as follows:

Broad ISCED Area Number of Courses Number of Places
01 – Education 3 60
02 – Arts and Humanities 36 548
03 – Social Sciences, Journalism and Information 4 60
04 – Business, Administration and Law 106 2020
05 – Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics 82 1804
06 – Information and Communication Technologies 106 1831
07 – Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction 175 4082
08 – Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Veterinary 2 40
09 – Health and Welfare 93 2113
10 – Services 7 60
Transversal Skills 40 1261
Grand Total 654 13879


For the full list of Micro-Credential courses, visit HCI Pillar 3 Micro-Credentials Learner Fee Subsidy | Skills and Engagement | Higher Education Authority (


More: micro-cred, Minister Harris, year of the skills

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