Could ‘earn and learn’ be a panacea for fixing the IT labour shortage?

9 Dec 2014

An ambitious new ‘earn and learn’ programme – the first of its kind in Ireland – is being suggested as a means of filling 5,000 out of the current 7,000 ICT job vacancies in the country within two years.

The programme, devised by FIT, will offer students the opportunity to ‘earn and learn’ as they work to secure a tech sector-recognised qualification. FIT ICT Associate Professional will be piloted from February, with 200 students in Dublin, Cork and the Midlands, with a view to national roll out thereafter.

The FIT ICT Associate Professional programme was announced at an expo held in the RDS, Dublin, today by FIT, SOLAS and the Educational Training Boards to enable young people to pursue careers in the technology sector.

“The programme combines college-based learning with work-based training, facilitating a more hands-on approach to skills development than traditional learning environments,” said Peter Davitt, CEO of FIT.

A hands-on approach to skills development

“Employers have welcomed the introduction of the FIT ICT Associate Professional qualification because of the focus it places on gaining technical skills and experience that will enable course participants to hit the ground running when they move fully into the workplace environment,” Davitt added.

“And we have every reason to believe that employers will be very welcoming of those who complete the courses. As highlighted in the FIT ICT Skills Audit 2014, there are currently 7,000 vacancies in the ICT sector, of which 5,000 could be filled within a two-year period by young tech enthusiasts acquiring this qualification.”

Since it started in Dublin in 1999, FIT has expanded substantially and now operates across the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland under the banner FIT-NI.

To date, more than 16,000 job-seekers have completed FIT skills development programmes, of which more than 12,000 progressed into employment. Some 3,000 job-seekers are now participating in FIT programmes.

Cloud worker image via Shutterstock

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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