Human Capital Initiative (HCI)



Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 offers incentivised places for graduates to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies via graduate conversion courses.  The HCI Pillar 1 funding will provide funding for full-time graduate conversion courses.

Human Capital Initiative Pillar 1 is funded by the National Training Fund.

  • Human Capital Initiative (HCI)
  • Who is Eligible?
  • How to Apply
  • RPL

What is Human Capital Initiative (HCI)?

Human Capital Initiative (HCI) offer free or heavily incentivised higher education full time courses run over 12 and 18 months.  These courses are at level 9 Postgraduate Diploma.  All are available to Jobseekers, those in employment, Returners and recent graduates.  It is an opportunity to reskill via a full time graduate conversion course.

What courses are available under HCI in 2021?

HCI Applications are currently closed for academic year 2020/2021. Applications for September 2021 will open in the coming weeks.

Who is Eligible?

The following are eligible to apply for courses in 2020/21 academic year (subject to the applicant meeting all requirements, e.g. academic requirements):

1. Those in receipt of an eligible payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and the formerly self-employed;

2. People not in receipt of a payment from the Department of Social Protection that have been out of the work environment for a number of years due to childcare or other caring obligations and have a previous history of employment but may require upskilling, reskilling or cross-skilling to transition back to the workforce (“Returners”)

3. People in employment seeking to reskill or upskill.

4. Recent graduates (2020 or 2019) in the year of commencement of the course: 2020 graduates will be liable for 10% of the cost of the course.  2019 graduates who are in receipt of a payment from Department of Social Protection (for 9 of the previous 12 months) will not be liable for the 10%.  Graduates who are employed will be liable for 10% of the cost of the course.

Course Fees

Applicants who are employed or a recent graduate applying for a course at NFQ Level  8 or 9, 90% of the course fee is paid by the HEA applicants will be liable for the remaining 10% fee. Fees will be due once a place has been accepted

Further information on eligibility is available at

How to Apply

Applications for March 2021 are currently closed. Applications for September 2021 will open in the coming weeks.

To apply for a Human Capital Initiative 2021 course applicants must use the centralised application system via


In order to encourage and enable people to enter or re-enter formal education Institute of Technology Carlow welcomes applications from applicants who wish to enhance their academic eligibility for a place on a course by using the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) mechanism.

RPL is the term used to describe the system whereby prospective students can apply for formal recognition to a range of relevant learning that you may have gained prior to entry onto a particular course. 

RPL includes:
- Recognition of Prior Accredited Learning: This refers to the recognition of formal learning which is linked to the National Framework of Qualifications and for which certification has been awarded; it might include a course or part of a course that has been completed previously.
- Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning: This refers to the recognition of the kind of learning that has been gained through work or life experiences. It could also include learning gained through workplace training courses. 
- Applicants will be asked to set out, formally and in detail using the Institute of Technology Carlow Human Capital Initiative RPL Form, any previous certified or experiential learning previous that they wish to have considered in the process of allocating places on a course. 
In order to make an RPL application for a place on a Institute of Technology Carlow HCI 2020 course please first contact the HCI Co-ordinator, at with a brief outline of:
  • What course you are interested in;
  • What your current formal qualifications are;
  • What relevant experience you have.

Once this summary information has been received you will be informed on how best to proceed.

It is important to note that Institute of Technology Carlow anticipates very significant demand for the HCI 2020 courses.
In order to succeed in enhancing their eligibility through RPL candidates will need to engage fully and completely with the RPL requirements set out in the HCI RPL form.
All modules taken on HCI courses will typically contribute to the award classification and so module exemptions are generally not permitted.