Cllr Murphy calls for west to get ‘fair share’ of new ICT undergraduate places

An extra 1,250 information and communication technology (ICT ) undergraduate places will be made available annually from 2014, according to Fine Gael city councillor Michelle Murphy who has called for a “fair share” of these undergraduate places to be made available in the west of Ireland.

“Many candidates currently in the market place in Galway have actually re-launched their careers by participating in career conversion courses, or returning to full time education, over the past two to three years to ensure they get on the ICT employment wagon when it comes to town,” said Cllr Murphy, who explained that 2,000 work permits will also be issued per year to ICT professionals with relevant skills in order to meet the demands of the industry, and there will be an increased focus on recent Irish emigrants and EEA nationals.

“Under the plan, it is aimed to meet 74 per cent of industry demands domestically for ICT professionals by 2018 – up from 45 per cent in 2011 and 60 per cent now,” said Cllr Murphy. In order to meet this target, a series of reforms aimed at dramatically increasing the availability of graduates has been announced, including: Providing an additional 1,250 undergraduate ICT places per year in higher education institutions; increasing the retention rate of students on ICT related courses; launching a further round of ICT Skills Conversion courses; promoting careers in ICT to primary and second level students with industry support; rolling out courses in digital media literacy, programming and coding in the new Junior Cycle Student Awards; facilitating the issuing of up to 2,000 employment permits per year to experienced ICT professionals with skills in high demand.

“The ICT sector is a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, and over the past two years we have seen significant jobs growth in this area. If we are to sustain and build on this, it is crucial that we deal with one of the biggest issues facing the ICT industry worldwide – skills shortages. In my own role as a regional manager in Collins McNicholas Recruitment and HR Services we can see at first hand the skill shortages within the ICT sector for experienced software developers and other disciplines, so I am urging that all these measures are implemented to ensure that this sector does not move away from Ireland due to the lack of the key skill required to make it thrive.

“The Government has set out the ambition of making Ireland the most attractive location in the world for ICT skills, and we are delivering on that through a combination of Irish educated people and talent from abroad. Through major changes, reforms already delivered and the new plan, we can ensure that we continue to foster the growth of Irish companies and attract multinational companies in this area, and ultimately help deliver the jobs in Ireland that we so badly need.”

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