€1m IBEC and Ericsson conversion programme guarantees jobs for 40 graduates

29 Nov 2012

Forty graduates have been guaranteed jobs for two years at Ericsson after completing a conversion course that gave them skills to be relevant in the tech sector. Around 100 more are starting for the year 2012/13 and there is demand for spaces for the following year.

IBEC-based ICT Ireland today revealed that a €1m Skillnet investment made jointly with Ericsson to fund the master’s degree in applied software technology (MAST) at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) has resulted in 40 graduates completing its first year, guaranteeing them two years of employment at Ericsson.

The MAST initiative is a fast-track, high-level, intensive initiative that began with 50 unemployed graduates in September 2011. The 40 who graduated are now employed as software engineers with Ericsson in Athlone.

Closing the skills gap – an imperative for Ireland

Closing the gap between undergraduate skill levels and the needs of the tech sector is a major theme right now.

In 2012, more than 6,000 new jobs were announced by 42 indigenous and multinational companies and there is sustained demand for 4,800 skilled workers.

The problem has been a shortage of skilled graduates caused by schools not informing students of opportunities in the tech sector and the lure of the long-dead property market in Ireland.

It is an international problem – across Europe there are vacancies of around 5m in the tech sector; in Germany alone 400,000 tech positions need to be filled.

Earlier this week, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, TD, revealed that he is working on creating an IT Visa to attract skilled workers to come to Ireland. Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, TD, this week outlined a massive reform of the Irish education system to ensure Ireland has a pipeline of skilled workers for the future.

A proactive approach

“We’re seeing huge demand for software engineers in Ireland, but we often hear of a skills gap between the knowledge graduates have developed at third level and the experience companies need. It is increasingly clear that companies can bridge this gap by becoming involved in masters-level courses where they design the training and provide insight into the skills that industry needs,” said ICT Ireland director Paul Sweetman.

“Companies such as Ericsson are taking a proactive approach to meet these needs. We are excited to see the success of the programme in its first year and build on that success by expanding it to include new companies next year. Ireland has a vibrant technology sector with a promising future for graduates. Over 10,000 jobs have been announced since 2011 and we expect this trend to continue to grow.

“There are  many benefits for the successful applicants. Not only will they achieve an MSc and additional technical training, but work experience, an allowance for the duration of the programme or the possibility of retaining their social welfare payments, and then at the end of their studies, a job as a software engineer with a leading ICT company awaits them. It’s a win-win situation,” Sweetman added.

The programme is supported by Skillnets Ltd through its Training Networks Programme, which is funded by the National Training Fund of the Department of Education and Skills. More information is available online.

Watch out for Silicon Republic’s Future Jobs Forum, which takes place in the Convention Centre Dublin on Friday, 8 February, and which will gather Ireland’s leaders in the ‘knowledge economy’ to look at constructive solutions as we race to win the battle for global talent. Event site goes live in coming days.

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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