Labour Party deputy John Lyons, TD, said the provision of IT training and skills in schools needs to be reviewed in order for the digital gaming and IT industries to reach their potential.
“One sector of the economy which has seen strong growth in recent years is in the area of IT. This growth is evident in the setting up and expansion of operations here, by major players such as Google, Facebook and Twitter,” he said at the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education.
“As well as attracting these high-profile names, Dublin has become a digital gaming hub and a service support centre for businesses dependent on internet technologies for their growth.
“To facilitate the future growth of these sectors, there must be a pool of technical and creative talent. In today’s committee, skills shortages were identified, including an estimated 2,500 job vacancies for IT positions, as the greatest impediment to the development of these sectors.”
As a way of addressing this, Lyons believes the way IT skills are taught at primary and secondary levels needs to be examined.
“In particular, we need to look at ways to give students a fluency in IT instead of the current approach of giving them a basic form of IT literacy.
“We have a generation of students who technologically adept but our teaching of IT skills does not encourage students to explore their aptitude in these areas or promote careers in these growing industries," he said.
“We now need to look at innovative approaches, such as using the proposed revised Junior Certificate curriculum to develop courses in IT that expose students to aspects of these industries, such as programming and software development, and I intend to make these suggestions to the Minister for Education and Skills.”