More than 750 places available on graduate ICT courses


MORE THAN 750 places are available on 17 new graduate skills conversion programmes in a joint Government-ICT action plan launched yesterday.

The programmes, which will be held throughout the State, will start in March and can be applied for through the Bluebrick website.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said participation would be fully subsidised by his department. The €4 million in funding required was provided for in the budget.

“We need to take action to develop a sustainable domestic supply of high-level ICT skills over time to drive the further expansion and development of the sector and to support innovation and growth across other sectors of the economy,’’ said Mr Quinn.

Participants would be provided with three months’ work experience. “There is the opportunity then for that person to be possibly hired. The jobs are there.’’

The Minister added that, typically, the programmes would be suitable for an engineer, or somebody from the construction sector, who might want to reskill.

Mr Quinn said the plan had set out how to build the supply and quality of graduates in the medium- to long-term. It envisaged an ambitious target of doubling the annual output of ICT graduates from 1,000 this year to 2,000 by 2018.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said there was no “big bang’’ solution to the Government’s plan to provide jobs and growth. Transformation across all sectors and a brick-by-brick rebuilding of the economy were required.

“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,’’ Mr Bruton added.

Chairwoman of ICT Ireland Regina Moran said the technology industry was a significant growth area and a crucial sector for economic prosperity.

“All of the top 10 global technology companies have a major presence here and, importantly, we have a powerful indigenous software sector. With 80 jobs a week being announced since the beginning of 2011, the sector offers fantastic career opportunities in a variety of fields.’’

Higher Education Authority chairman John Hennessy said, globally, a potential growth-rate of as high as 20 per cent annually over the next decade was mooted for internet communications.

Research centre gets €22.4m

The Irish Software Engineering Research Centre based at the University of Limerick is to receive €22.4 million in funding over the next five years, it was confirmed today.

Funding of €16 million is being provided to Lero through the Government via Science Foundation Ireland with a second-term funding of €6.4 million coming from a consortium of industry partners.