Group issues warning over drop in ICT course applications

Increase in numbers taking honours maths failing to translate into students taking ICT courses

Technology Ireland, which is the Ibec group representing companies in the ICT, digital and software technology sector, said it is concerned at an 11 per cent decline in first preferences applications for level 8 and level 6/7 ICT courses.

Technology Ireland, which is the Ibec group representing companies in the ICT, digital and software technology sector, said it is concerned at an 11 per cent decline in first preferences applications for level 8 and level 6/7 ICT courses.

 

A decline in the number of students opting for courses in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is a cause for concern, a technology lobby group has warned.

Technology Ireland, which is the Ibec group representing companies in the ICT, digital and software technology sector, said it is concerned at an 11 per cent decline in first preferences applications for level 8 and level 6/7 ICT courses.

Una Fitzpatrick, director of Technology Ireland said: “While it is positive to see marginally more students taking Higher Level mathematics and engineering subjects at Leaving Certificate, this is failing to translate into more students choosing ICT related courses as their first preference.

The sector, which employs some 130,000 people in Ireland, currently has 12,000 vacancies available at all levels, she said.

While the demand for tech talent “is a global issue,” Ms Fitzpatrick said there was a need in Ireland for “an integrated triple play strategy” to deliver “top talent”.

“The economy needs initiatives for: secondary and higher education, further education and alternative pathways,” she said.

Ms Fitzpatrick said the lobby group was looking forward to the publication of the Government’s third ICT Skills Action plan so that these initiatives can be implemented.

The plan, first published by the government in 2012, was aimed at increasing the supply of high-level ICT skills through targeted reskilling and skills conversion opportunities.

Citing advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud-based technologies, Ms Fitzpatrick said demand for skilled workers “is strong across a wide range of tech disciplines.”

Ms Fitzpatrick said the lobby group is “positive” about alternative pathways into the sector such as conversion courses and the new tech apprenticeships.

She also welcomed the pilot phase of the new Computer Science for Leaving Certificate course which begins in September as “a step in the right direction”.