In a bid to bridge the shortage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) staff required to fill the positions currently vacant in this sector, the government has devised a new graduate skills conversion programme which will have over 750 places available.
The initiative was launched by The Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Ruairí Quinn, along with Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Quinn said that, “Providing the right skills at the right time for the right jobs is absolutely essential if we are to get the Irish economy back on its feet.”
It is his belief that action needs to be taken to “develop a sustainable domestic supply of high level ICT skills.” The Labour Minister said that over time, this initiative would help to further expand and develop the ICT industry, as well as support innovation and growth in other areas of the economy.
According to Mr Quinn, more than 750 places are being made available on 17 new graduate skills conversion programmes across the country. People can apply for a place today through the Bluebrick website for courses commencing in March, and participation in the programmes will be fully subsidised; no fees will be charged.
“The Action Plan also sets out how we are going to build the supply and quality of graduates in the medium to long term. It establishes an ambitious target of doubling the annual output of ICT graduates from 1,000 this year to 2,000 by 2018,” said Mr Quinn.
Minister Richard Bruton added: “The Government’s plan to get jobs and growth back into the country will have no ‘big bang’ solution, but will require transformation across all sectors and a brick-by-brick rebuilding of the economy. A key part of this will be to get the greatest possible benefit out of the strengths we have, and the ICT sector, where there are over 1,000 vacancies and great potential for future growth, provides a major opportunity for employment if we can provide the necessary skills.”
Peter O’Neill, President of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, and country general manager for IBM Ireland, said that the publication of the ICT Action Plan was an important initiative.
“Increasingly, the availability of skills is a key driver in foreign direct investment decisions, and Ireland’s young, skilled and flexible talent pool has been a strong attraction for multinational companies locating here.”
Senator Mary Moran has warmly welcomed the announcement and added, “I would encourage graduates to take up the offer of these courses as soon as possible.”