News in brief

792 new special needs assistant posts

The government has announced 800 new special needs assistant posts will be allocated to schools from September and as the need for more additional supports in schools is confirmed in the early weeks of the school year, up to 130 additional posts are expected to be allocated by December.

The allocations being confirmed today means there will be a total of up to 15,950 special needs assistants working in schools by the end of 2019.

This is a 51% increase on the number of SNAs who were working in schools in 2011, when the figure stood at 10,575.

Springboard+ 2019 has been launched

A new suite of courses under Springboard+ 2019 has recently been launched. This brings the number of courses to 285 and the number of places available from this academic year to over 9,000.

Four areas of critical importance have been identified: digital skills, soft skills, management and leadership and the workplace of the future. All courses address at least one of these areas in detail, with many including all four of the critical areas.

Many courses focus on future-proofing the skills of people already in employment, particularly in roles that may be impacted by digitalisation.

Springboard+ courses are free for people who are unemployed, those who were previously self-employed and returners to the workforce.

Queen’s students’ life-saving plane tech

Students at Queen’s University Belfast have been creating unmanned aircraft technology capable of delivering relief to disaster zones.

Teams from the MEng Aerospace Engineering degree programme were tasked with designing and building autonomously-controlled aircraft from scratch, which are capable of delivering two bottles of water and a medical kit to disaster victims using its own in-flight system.

The designs were put through their paces during test flights in County Antrim and two of the teams will now travelled to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers UAS challenge in Wales.

The Power of Humour in Marketing’s a hoot

How can humour help sell products? Delegates attended IT Sligo’s annual marketing conference to find out why. 

   A panel of well-known speakers shared their expertise including Mattress Mick and Sligo’s celebrity salesman, Eamonn Cunningham from EJ’s Mensware who gave some tips; “Don’t use copycat tactics, be inspired, use your imagination, don’t repeat, try to be original, Don’t worry about mistakes, learn from them”.