Three women and a man standing in a server room.
From left: Maire Hunt, Software Skillnet; Deepthy Vazhelil, VMware; Helen Cronin; VMware; and James Byrne, Dell Technologies. Image: Julien Behal

Only 800 women graduate each year in Ireland with ICT qualifications

5 Apr 2019

Tech industry behind new skills push to recruit women from different backgrounds.

The Irish tech industry is embarking on a push to correct an anomaly affecting the industry due to low numbers of women graduating with ICT qualifications.

According to data from Technology Ireland and Software Skillnet, only 800 women graduate in Ireland each year with ICT qualifications.

‘The tech sector is a great place for people from all backgrounds to work. It’s not just for men or techies’

To counter this, the tech sector is looking at new and innovative ways to engage women from other backgrounds in new roles.

KickStart a new venture

“Our future workforce will be diverse and innovative, bringing new perspectives and solutions to our products and services,” explained Aisling Keegan, vice-president and general manager at Dell Technologies.

“Gender balance is important to our growth and we are committed to actively engaging and supporting the participation of women at all levels of our business.”

A new Software Skillnet programme backed by Dell Technologies, entitled Women KickStart, enables women from any background to gain the skills and competencies to work in a technology environment. These may be recent graduates or women who have gained experience working in other fields.

The programme provides an intensive 15-week process of training, mentoring and work experience for women who have probably not worked in the tech sector before. This fast-track opportunity is supported by companies in the sector, which are providing experienced mentors and work experience to help prepare participants for new careers.

Dell Technologies is hosting the inaugural group and has opened up real job opportunities for women who successfully complete the process.

Software Skillnet’s previous KickStart programmes have already enabled more than 300 people from a wide range of previous backgrounds to enter new careers in tech, with 92pc of participants gaining immediate jobs on completion. Past participants are now excelling in careers in companies such as VMware, Trend Micro, VCE, Abtran and Mozy.

This is the first time that KickStart has been delivered with a specific focus on women’s need and interests.

“The tech sector is a great place for people from all backgrounds to work. It’s not just for men or techies,” said Eoghan Ó Faoláin, acting director of Technology Ireland.

“Digital skills are fast becoming core to every job in every sector.

“Through our Software Skillnet network, a number of new programmes support women to enter or return to tech. Over 40 companies are now actively involved in our award-winning Women ReBoot programme and the development of the KickStart programme for women tech companies, [and] are actively seeking to address gender diversity across the sector. Dell Technologies are frontrunners in this process and we are thrilled by their support for the pilot group,” Ó Faoláin said.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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