The Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA) today welcomed the Joint Government - Industry ICT Action Plan: Meeting the High Level ICT Skills Needs of Enterprise in Ireland.
IVEA General Secretary, Michael Moriarty says: 'the fact that over 750 places are being made available across graduate skills conversion programmes is very good news for those with interests and aptitudes suited to working at a high level in ICT in a wide range of diverse roles'.
'Ireland's future prosperity depends on the extent to which we develop the ICT skills of the workforce - at literally every level. It is not just at third level that we need to develop these skills; they need to be developed at every level. They are the key to driving innovation, efficiency, effectiveness, improved customer service and new revenue streams right across both the public and the private sector'.
'Of course, at the highest levels, ICT skills are the key to attracting new technology companies to locate here. We must urgently bring to an end the need for such companies to bring in workers from abroad because Ireland lacks the graduates to fill the positions they offer'.
According to Mr Moriarty, 'Ireland needs to consider identifying, while still at school, those young people with a high level of aptitude for working in the field of computing. To that end, we need to seriously consider introducing computer science to the school curriculum. The school curriculum has options in engineering, construction, art and design, hospitality, so, in the computer age, why not a computer science option?'
'If Ireland is to going build its ICT skill set, we also need:
  • Communication Skills: Oracy / Reading / Writing /Spelling /Numeracy
  • Learning to Learn: Understanding Learning Styles / Study Skills / Educational Guidance
  • Introduction to IT: Basic Computers / Internet
  • a nationwide programme of professional development to ensure that teachers and school leaders have the capacity to make effective use of ICT in their work;
  • a sufficient quantity of appropriate computers in all schools;
  • a robust broadband service to all learning and administration areas in a school/centre; and
  • technical support to ensure that the ICT equipment in schools and centres of education is appropriately maintained at all times.'

Mr Moriarty notes one negative in the report: the lack of VEC representation on the Industry-Academic Group on ICT Foresight. 'Given, the fact that VECs, as Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs), will shortly have responsibility for providing integrated further education and training all over Ireland, it would seem appropriate that this expert group should include at least one representative from the VEC sector. ICT is not the preserve of third level graduates; it is highly relevant to all areas of the workforce.'

 


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