“We need to get the message across — the industry is booming. There are great jobs out there and we need bright, talented graduates with ICT qualifications to fill them,” said Jim O’Hara, (pictured) general manager of Intel Ireland and a member of the ICT Ireland board, at the launch of its third Graduate Placement Programme.
The Graduate Placement Programme provides more than 100 graduates with a minimum six-month placement in ICT companies nationwide. For the first time, a number of non-technical positions will be made available for marketing graduates interested in working in the ICT sector.
ICT Ireland director Kathryn Raleigh said despite an increasing number of jobs being made available, prospective employers were still emphasising that graduates have experience. She said: “When we started collecting feedback on last year’s placement programme we found that both companies and graduates were enthusiastic about running the it again. Many graduates felt that, despite the growing number of jobs available, candidates were still required to have some previous experience in the sector.”
As a result of the programme, Raleigh explained that several of the companies have kept on graduates of the programme. “The programme will continue to provide a pool of highly qualified, experienced graduates to the ICT industry. We are confident the experience that the graduates gain will win them permanent and rewarding employment in the ICT sector,” she said.
The ICT sector in Ireland employs more than 100,000 people and is one of the largest contributors to the Irish economy. While it has returned to something of a steady course since the downturn of 2001, negative publicity of the industry’s travails discouraged students and their parents from deciding on career’s in one of Ireland’s most prominent and versatile industries with the result that less graduates are available for an increasing stream of jobs.
The result, industry and policy makers fear, will be a major skills shortage reminiscent of 1999 and the economy will need to take advantage of immigration to fuel the IT industry’s recruitment needs.
By John Kennedy