The Irish Computer Society has launched a major skills initiative that will help identify and fill the information communications technology (ICT) skills gap in Ireland.
The initiative, which was jointly developed in Ireland and has European support, is part of the ICS Skills Strategy and consists of ICS Skills Framework and ICS Skills Cert (www.ics-skills.ie). The system has been piloted in the Bank of Ireland, the Revenue Commissioners and Fujitsu Services Ireland.
The framework will endeavour to allow employers to define skills competencies in ICT and non-ICT companies dependant on technology. It also allows firms to map out training programmes, identify gaps, allow individuals interested in ICT careers to understand the profession and identify a career entry-point and allow the industry and Government to quickly address shortages as they happen.
“The whole manner in which careers in the ICT sector are presented needs to be changed,” explains Frank Cronin, CEO of the Irish Computer Society (ICS). According to Cronin, while we may never return to the mad days of inflated salaries and even more inflated demands in the sector, the industry needs to present itself as a sustainable and viable sector in which rewarding careers can be developed.
“The aim of this is to ensure that when shortages occur, instead of employers and industry waiting for people to come out of college after three years, people already working in organisations who have a wealth of experience and skills, and yet aren’t college graduates, can quickly achieve a recognised qualification,” Cronin explains.
“The model is aimed to be highly flexible and can accommodate any skillset in ICT. A lot of people who end up working in ICT roles in companies often fall into it by accident and not by virtue of college or university, yet accumulate a wealth of programming and other skills.
“Most employers are after qualifications and experience, and the framework levels the playing field for employers and employees in a market that has come full circle in such a short time,” Cronin concludes.
By John Kennedy