A major joint industry and Irish Government action plan has been launched today to support the technology sector, which will see the introduction of full-time conversion courses allowing people to reskill to gain ICT qualifications.
ICT Action Plan – Meeting the High-Level Skills Needs of Enterprises in Ireland aims to address the gap in high-level skills in the IT sector in order to ensure Ireland is at the forefront of the technology industry worldwide. It focuses on helping Ireland produce the quality and quantity of skilled graduates needed for the sector.
The plan aims to bridge the skills gap by launching a one-year, full-time, level 8 HDip conversion programme in core computing and programme skills. Some 768 places will be offered across the country. The programme begins in March 2012.
Seventeen programmes will be on offer for job seekers with “cognate/numerical skills and underlying aptitude for programming.”
The Higher Education Authority and Department of Education and Skills are supporting all courses, and unemployed participants won’t have to pay fees.
The programmes have close industry involvement and include industry-relevant projects and placements, aiming to leave graduates ready to work in the industry upon graduation.
“The technology sector in Ireland is thriving. Since the beginning of the year, over 300 jobs have been announced,” said Regina Moran, ICT Ireland chair and CEO of Fujitsu Ireland.
“This is on foot of 4,000 jobs announced in the sector in 2011. With the top 10 global technology companies having a significant presence here and a substantial indigenous software sector, Ireland continues to be a powerhouse for technology,” she said.
Moran said ICT Ireland and ISA members have worked closely with Government departments to develop this plan. It focuses on a number of short to long-term policy measures and education initiatives.
The report estimates that 55pc of high-level ICT skills are being met through inward migration and more needs to be done to boost the domestic market.
It aims to double its annual output of honours degree ICT undergraduate programmes to 2,000 graduates by 2018. Upskilling and conversion actions will be taken in the short term.
It also wishes to increase female participation into ICT programmes from 15pc to 25pc.
“It is vital for those making an education or career choice, or wishing to upskill, to focus on where current and future job opportunities exist and the key skills that are in demand," said Barry O’Leary, chief executive of IDA Ireland.
"We currently estimate that approximately half of the vacancies in IDA companies in the coming years will require technology skills. These actions to increase the talent available to business will ensure a substantial boost to Ireland’s ability to maximise opportunities in not only the ICT sector but across a range of sectors, including international financial services, banking and business services," he said.