Minister Joe O’Brien officially announces bursaries for professional Community Work education

28th July, 2023

The Minister of State for Communities, Integration and Charities, Joe O’Brien T.D. has today (Friday, 28th July 2023) announced a bursary fund of €200,000 to support community workers to pursue endorsed postgraduate community work qualifications. The Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) has provided funding for the bursary to the All Ireland Endorsement Body (AIEB) for Community Work Education.


The fund has been established to meet a commitment under the government’s five year strategy for the Community and Voluntary sector: Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities.  It responds to a key finding of AIEB’s assessment of education and training needs which calls for affordable and accessible professional community work education for people with degrees already in community work jobs.


The bursary will be available to managers of community organisations, community workers and those who undertake community work duties in associated roles who have graduate degrees but no professional community work qualifications.


The bursary will fund places on the Masters in Community and Youth Work Programme at NUI Maynooth, which will be offered on a part-time basis.  The blended mode of delivery of that programme makes it possible for potential bursary applicants also managing workloads and other commitments.


The need for education and training for people with no degrees or qualifications working or involved in community work and associated areas was also strongly identified in responses to the AIEB needs assessment.  AIEB is currently developing a pre-professional training initiative for people with no qualifications.


Announcing the bursary, Minister Joe O’Brien stated that:


“I am delighted to see that this postgraduate programme is now available on a part-time and blended basis making it accessible to the staff of community and local development organisations all over the country. The bursary will support successful applicants and we hope that employers in the sector will also support their staff to take up this opportunity. 


“My department is currently engaging with AIEB on further proposals to support people employed and involved in community work who do not have any qualifications.”


Information about the bursaries is available from and information on the programme can be provided by the Department of Applied Social Studies in NUI Maynooth.