The Stepping Stones programme supports residents in a broad range of courses covering third level as well as certificate and skills training. Grants for the programme are awarded by a panel of three judges based on the resident’s application.
I had always wanted to study history, so off I went and applied to Trinity, got in much to my amazement, and in 2019 I graduated with first-class honours. I have now completed a Masters and am about to begin a PHD.
Third level qualifications
Certificate and skills qualifications
The Stepping Stones Award supports education and training. In recent years awardees have taken part in a wide variety of academic and skills based courses ranging from a degree in social science to a certificate in addiction studies to a course on flower arranging.
Stepping Stones awards usually range from €250 for shorter courses up to €750 for longer courses, e.g. university.
The award also supports training and personal development courses. So, if you have a talent or interest that you want to develop then the Stepping Stones Award may be able to help.
Recent Stepping Stones Awardee Amy Kilkelly commented: “I received an honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Gaeilge from NUIG. I am now completing a masters in primary teaching in Mary Immaculate College Limerick.
The Stepping Stones award has enormously helped me with the various expenses that I have had during my third level education. It contributed to the commuting costs I had each week. I was also able to purchase the relevant reading materials necessary for my course and pay the annual student levy. I have not had to take out a student loan and I am extremely grateful to the Stepping Stones award for that.
I want to say a huge thanks to Clúid for all of their support through the Stepping Stones Bursary.”
The bursary is open to all tenants and authorised occupants living in Clúid homes.Are there any limitations on who can apply?
Certain terms and conditions apply.
Stepping Stones is limited to people who are not receiving any other sources of funding.
People who are receiving a Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant or grants from other sources, e.g. St Vincent de Paul, credit union etc., are not eligible to apply for funding.
You can request a full list of terms and conditions during your application process.
Stepping Stones is for all kinds of training and education courses – short and long. For example, you can apply for Stepping Stones if you are going into your first year of a three year university degree course or you can apply for Stepping Stones for a weekend course in makeup artistry.What kind of courses does Stepping Stones not provide support for?
Stepping Stones supports courses in which the student will develop new skills and learning. It doesn’t support courses in which you receive a service, e.g. acupuncture, reflexology etc.
For example, you should not submit an application to attend message therapy sessions over a six week period. This kind of application would not be successful because the applicant is not developing new skills or learning as a result of attending the course.
You will be informed of the result of your application (whether you are successful or unsuccessful) about two – three weeks after the closing date for applications.How are Stepping Stones applications assessed?
A panel of three Clúid staff read the applications forms and then meet to discuss them and decide who should receive a Stepping Stones awardHow can I increase my chances of being successful?
There are two questions on the application form which ask why you are looking for financial support and how Stepping Stones will help you in terms of your future. Successful applications usually provide a good picture of the personal circumstances of the applicant and why those circumstances are deserving of financial support.
For example, you may be a single parent who has decided to start a part-time college course in order to improve your family’s circumstances. However, this may mean that you will have to make personal sacrifices to achieve your goal – you may have to start part-time work instead of full-time because of the course, or you may have to spend a lot of time commuting.
If you don’t provide much information in your form, we won’t be fully informed of your situation when considering who to award the Stepping Stones programme support, so it’s worth spending the time to write a good application!
Stepping Stones payments are made by bank transfer. Successful applicants should supply their bank details (BIC and IBAN).
Awardees will also be requested to provide proof of registration to their course to Clúid in order to support the payment being made. This proof of registration can range from a letter of acceptance from a college or an email from a course provider confirming your booking on a course.
Clúid makes all of its payments on the 2nd last Friday of every month and any requests for payments must be made one week before that. Please note that payments are only made once a month, so you may need to be patient about receiving your award if you have just missed a payment date.
No. The Stepping Stones awards scheme is applicable for every academic year, i.e. from September / October to June each year. If you are told that you are successful in September but your course isn’t starting until February, don’t worry – we will hold the funding for you until your course is starting and you are able to provide proof of registration.Do I need to be already signed up to a course?
You don’t need to be signed up to a course yet, but you will need to let us know what course you are planning to attend on your application form. As above, the course must take place in the coming academic year, i.e. between September / October to June.I received the award last year. Can I apply again this year?
You can apply for a Stepping Stones award for every year of a course if the course takes more than one year. However, we cannot guarantee that you will receive Stepping Stones funding every time you apply.
Some past applicants have been successful in getting funding over three years, but some have only received funding for one year. So, it’s important not to presume that you will always be successful, but it’s still worth applying!