Software engineers in 'huge demand'
An umbrella group representing high-tech companies yesterday called on its membership to fund master’s programmes to bridge the “skills-gap” between the knowledge university graduates have and the experience companies need.
About 35 companies attended a briefing hosted by ICT Ireland, an Ibec group that represents the high-tech sector, where the proposal was put to deal with the growing problem of a scarcity of skilled workers in the sector.
In spite of the unemployment crisis, more than 6,000 new jobs have been announced by 42 indigenous and multinational technology companies this year alone.
ICT Ireland director Paul Sweetman said there was “huge demand” for software engineers in Ireland.
“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 master’s level courses where they design the training and provide insight into the skills that industry needs.”
The briefing pointed to a €1 million investment by LM Ericsson and ICT Ireland Skillnet to fund a master’s in applied software technology at Dublin Institute of Technology and Athlone Institute of Technology.
That initiative has just completed its first year and guarantees employment through a permanent contract with LM Ericsson upon successful completion. It also allows for students to continue receiving social welfare while undertaking the course – those not in receipt of welfare can avail of a bursary. Some 40 people have completed the programme, 100 more are starting for the year 2012/2013, and there is demand for spaces for 2013/2014.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton described the scheme as “a win-win situation” yesterday.
“We need a collective effort by all sectors of society to tackle the challenges facing the country. This programme is just such a collective effort, with the State and employers working in partnership with people who are seeking work.
“I would encourage employers to engage with my department to find out about the supports and services that are available to them.”