Is the dearth of digital education in Irish schools doing future tech talent a disservice?

13 May 2016

Ireland is one of Europe’s leading tech hubs, and some of the world’s best talent flocks here to work at the leading edge of tech development. A recent LinkedIn study shows a 36.1pc jump in software professionals migrating to Ireland.

But if Ireland can’t compete on that level when it comes to tech talent, are we doing ourselves a disservice?

This week, another 25 jobs were announced. Plusvital announced intentions to grow its staff to 50 in the next five years, up from the 35 they had previously forecast, and will hire 10 staff for its Roscommon facility.

We also learned this week that tech, biotech and engineering sectors are currently buoyant when it comes to recruitment.

But will Irish students – the potential tech workers of the future – have any real chance of getting any of these tech jobs and riding the wave of tech growth?

Perhaps not without fundamental reform in Ireland’s education system, according to Brendan Tangney, a professor at Trinity College Dublin.

While Ireland may be let down by its lack of resources in primary and secondary school classrooms, the country may get a boost from recent changes to EU entry and residence rules, which make it easier for non-EU students to come here to study.

Some of those students may bypass tech and engage in another STEM career, such as biotech.

The biotech sector has long had a presence in Ireland, and provides a huge number of jobs throughout the country.

Some of those jobs – from pharma firms like Pfizer, BMS and Regeneron – will be on offer this weekend at the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) careers event.

Of course, getting a job in tech – or another STEM arena – is one thing. Adapting to working life is quite another.

Employees’ experience in the tech sector can be vastly different, as we saw when released the results of a survey they carried out over three years on those working in start-ups.

We also learned a little about career development, when we heard from the Irish Management Institute’s (IMI) Tara Nolan, who explained how coaching can make you stand out from the crowd as a manager.

Finally, we celebrated Camara Education, which this week won the Dóchas ‘Innovative Programme of the Year’ award for the internet-based e-learning programme operated by the charity in African schools.

As always, for more information on any of these stories, follow the links below.

1. 36.1pc jump in software professionals migrating to Ireland

The Irish software sector is benefiting from a 36.1pc increase in LinkedIn members based in Ireland and working in the software sector compared with last year, which the social network says is down to professional migration to Ireland.

2. Another ‘buoyant’ ICT, pharma and engineering jobs month

A report into job availability in Ireland has found that, once again, the ICT, pharma and engineering sectors remain ‘buoyant’, with very strong demand for candidates and ongoing competition for talent and skills.

3. Digital skills crisis in Irish schools prompts call for urgent reform

A senior academic at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has warned that fundamental reform in Ireland’s education system is needed if the digital skills gap in Irish society is to be bridged. A Google-funded programme discovered one 500-student school with only one computer for every 20 students.

4. ‘Improved conditions’ to attract students and researchers to EU

The European Parliament has approved ‘harmonised’ entry and residence rules to help attract non-EU interns, volunteers, and school pupils to help increase the number of highly-skilled professionals available to employers in the EU.

5. 13 biopharma companies making their own luck in Ireland

We take a look at 13 of the leading biopharmaceutical companies with operations in Ireland, in an industry worth a total of €12.6bn to the Irish economy.

6. What is it like to work in a Berlin start-up?

Berlin remains one of the most popular destinations in Europe to establish a start-up, but a new detailed report finds that it’s not all rosy for staff, particularly women.

7. How do you become a successful manager? Coaching

Tara Nolan, an IMI associate who teaches on the Coaching for Business Results programme, explains how coaching can help managers stand out from the crowd.

8. Camara wins Dóchas award for e-learning in Kenyan schools

Irish charity Camara Education has won the Dóchas ‘Innovative Programme of the Year’ award for its iMlango project that teaches primary school students in Kenya.

Main image via Shutterstock

Kirsty Tobin
By Kirsty Tobin

Kirsty Tobin served as careers editor of Silicon Republic from 2015 up to August 2017. When she was younger, she had a dream where she started and won a fight with a T-Rex, so she’s pretty sure she kicked butt at this, too. Passions include eating all the cake, watching more TV than is healthy and sassy comebacks.

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