Education Fund


Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Education Fund was open to projects focused on improving educational outcomes for those experiencing educational disadvantage. Educational disadvantage that arises from living in a disadvantaged area, socio-economic disadvantage, experiencing mental health or other health issues, or disability are all relevant to this Fund.

Education and related qualifications determine to a large extent the life chances of people. Those who leave education without qualifications are hindered in their ability to find well-paying jobs and as a result are more at risk of poverty. The number of people with educational disadvantage achieving accreditations to QQI level 6, or higher, is disproportionately low when compared with the national norm, despite many Government and other initiatives to combat this. Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s goal via the Education Fund is to improve access to 3rd level education for students affected by disability or disadvantage, through improved educational attainment.

The Education Fund closed for applications at the end of February 2017. 

Social Innovation Awards Picture Robbie Reynolds
Social Innovation Awards Picture Robbie Reynolds



An Cosán Virtual Community College (VCC)

An Cosán VCC (Virtual Community College) have developed an innovative entry level model of higher education aimed at isolated and disadvantaged communities by offering a blended model of online learning, including live online classes, face-to-face workshops, mentoring, and online resources, all at a pace that suits the learner. Most of the learners who engage with VCC are taking their first steps into higher education, and for some it is their first step back to education at any level. VCC’s holistic, learner-centred model puts the learner at the heart of the project.

Aspire 2

Aspire2 is a collaborative partnership between DPS, students, schools, & key stakeholders from the Education Sector. The vision of the Aspire 2 programme is to redress the systemic inequality in Irish education by supporting students who live in areas of educational disadvantage to increase their prospects of completing the leaving certificate and progressing to third level education.

Cork Life Centre

Cork Life Centre provides a community of support and learning to young people who have not been able to reach their potential in mainstream educational settings. A holistic approach provides outreach and a wrap-around service to young people based on individual needs.

Churchfield Community Trust

Churchfield Community Trust uses education and work experience as a means of alcohol and drug deterrence. Churchfield Community Trust offers training, work and enterprise skills with a particular focus on Adult Education, Woodwork, Painting and Horticulture. They bridge the gaps in formal education through Computer Skills, Cookery and Literacy.

Focus Ireland “PETE – Preparation for Education Training and Employment”

PETE is an Education Programme which aims to provide support to adults who have reached out to homeless services, to facilitate their journey into mainstream education, training or employment.

Fast Track Academy “City Wise Education and IT Tallaght”

The Fast Track Academy develops academic and social skills through a tailored teaching support, mentoring, career guidance & work placements to improve numbers of students in West Tallaght progressing to third level education.


iScoil is an online learning community that offers an alternative path to learning, accreditation and progression for young people. iScoil provides an inclusive solution to address educational disadvantage and to ensure that young people have access to achieve and progress in their lives.

Speedpak Group – Enhanced Skills Traineeship

Speedpak Group operates commercial businesses to support people get back to work by providing real work experience, accredited industry training, mentoring and tailored supports. The combination of trading and training transforms lives. Matching local talent with available jobs provides trainees with greater financial independence through their employment and job resilience through education.

Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities’

Trinity Centre provides an advanced education programme for young people with Intellectual disabilities. This programme is designed to enable young people with intellectual disabilities to make the transition to employment and/or further education and to lead more independent adult lives. Who benefits? Adults with Intellectual disabilities across Ireland.

Trinity Access 21

Trinity Access 21 is an innovative university-led school outreach programme that empowers students, supports 21st century learning environments and strengthens “college-going” cultures in DEIS schools.