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Joint Government - Industry ICT Action Plan launched

Over 750 new places available on graduate skills conversion programmes as part of Joint Government - Industry ICT Action Plan

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD, together with Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today launched the Joint Government - Industry ICT Action Plan: Meeting the High Level ICT Skills Needs of Enterprise in Ireland 

Launching the Action Plan, Minister 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.
"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.

"I'm very pleased to announce today that 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.

"Particpation on the programmes will be fully subsidised by my Department; no fees will be charged." the Minister said.

The Action Plan also sets out how we are going to build the supply and quality of graduates in the medium term 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.

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 1000 vacancies and great potential for future growth, provides a major opportunity for employment if we can provide the necessary skills.

"The government is determined to train more people to take up these jobs, and today we are committing a series of ambitious targets, including doubling the number of graduates in this area by 2018. With proper implementation this will make a major contribution to getting the country back to work".

Speaking at the launch, Regina Moran, Chair of ICT Ireland, said: "The technology industry is a significant area of growth in Ireland and is 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. 

"In order to meet the skills demand of this growing sector, industry and government have combined forces to develop the education action plan launched today. This plan addresses the need for skilled graduates and employees through a number of long and short term measures and policy initiatives. Industry is fully supportive of this plan and indeed has played an integral part in its development. The plan sends a strong signal to the global business community that Ireland will remain a powerhouse for technology."

Peter O'Neill, President of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland said that the publication of today's ICT Action Plan was an important initiative which will be brought to fruition by government, industry and academia collaborating to address this area of real opportunity for Ireland.

"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. There is a real opportunity for us to build on that reputation so that Ireland can continue to attract investment and grow both exports and employment. ICT technology platforms and capabilities underpin all sectors of the economy - public services, transport, digital media, medical technologies, advanced manufacturing, logistics and trade, as well financial services. We have to implement the full range of short, medium and longer term actions outlined in this plan to ensure that we deliver the next generation of graduates with the skills that are required to match the fast paced changes in technology and ICT". He said.

A key action contained in the Plan is the development of a High Level ICT Foresight Group. This Group is being chaired by John Hennessy of the HEA, and is having its first meeting today. The Group's members are key industry and higher education decision makers and they will work on ICT and electronic engineering programme development.