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Launch of the ICT Action Plan and ICT Skills Programme

Launch of the ICT Action Plan and ICT Skills Programme
Publish date:
January 30, 2012

 ICT is a broad and dynamic sector encompassing software (applications, systems, middleware), IT services (data processing, outsourced IT services, and IT consulting), electronics and hardware, and communications services. It also has a pervasive impact on all sectors, enabling innovation, productivity enhancements and greater customer and market reach. Following a slowdown between 2008 and 2009, the global market for ICT is expected to regain momentum, with an overall growth rate of 5 percent between 2009 and 2014/151. Internet communications (including cloud computing) is set to be one of the fastest growing sub-markets within ICT – with potential growth rate as high as 20 percent per annum over the next decade. The manufacture of both semiconductors and computer hardware continue to exhibit moderate to strong growth prospects globally (6 percent per annum to 2015). The emergence of next generation internet, mobile ICT, location based services and the exponential growth of social networking have driven innovation and new revenue streams for firms of all sizes. Information security has emerged as a key issue for activities reliant on ICT communications; it also represents a growth opportunity within the ICT sector.

All this means that the demand for ICT skills in Ireland continues to exceed domestic supply. ICT companies are currently utilising inward migration to address this gap and while inward migration will continue to be an important source of skilled professionals into the near future, the need to boost the domestic supply of high-level ICT skills remains an important part of a sustainable ICT industry in Ireland. Furthermore, the successful exploitation of the opportunities offered by new products and technologies in the ICT sector will require a broad base of skilled people here. In order to ensure that one of Ireland’s most important resources, its labour force, is appropriately skilled a number of higher education providers are now offering a number of Level 8 Conversion Programmes which will provide graduates from other skills areas with the opportunity to up-skill or re-skill through a 1 year full time HDip Conversion Programme in core computing/programming skills.

The 17 programmes on offer will be for NFQ Level 8 jobseekers with cognate/numerical skills and underlying aptitude for programming and there will be 768 places offered countrywide. This suite of programmes will help to ensure that Ireland’s education system can the needs of this expanding and evolving sector and the ICT needs of enterprises across other sectors as they arise. All courses are supported by the HEA and Department of Education and Skills which means the tuition fees normally associated with such programmes are waived. These programmes are also unique in that all have close industry involvement in their design and operation and include industry relevant projects and placements which will leave graduates fully ‘work ready’ on completion. We invite you to browse the programmes and content on offer from a range of higher education providers. If you are keen to return to the jobs market or think a career in ICT is for you there will certainly be a real opportunity for you here.
Income supports
Participation in the programmes will not create an entitlement to receive any income support payment, a student grant or the Back to Education Allowance. 
If you are unemployed with an entitlement to a Jobseekers allowance or Jobseekers benefit payment from the Department of Social Protection you may retain such payments, if you have been on the Live Register for at least 3 months in the 6 months prior to the commencement of the programme. If you are in receipt of a Jobseekers payment you must contact your local social welfare office to make an application to retain your payment under an atypical pilot basis of the Part Time Education Option (PTEO).  Under the PTEO you may only retain such payments for the duration of time that an underlying entitlement to a payment exists.
If you are in receipt of  other forms of income support payment from the Department of Social Protection you must contact the appropriate scheme area to confirm if you may retain such payments while on the programme (for example if you are in receipt of a Disability Allowance you must contact the Disability Allowance section).
Participants on the programme who meet the criteria for the Jobbridge programme will be eligible for support under Jobbridge for the work experience element
ICT Action Plan (PDF)
HEA Statement on Launch of the ICT Action Plan & the ICT Skills Programme (PDF)
Outcomes of the 2012 ICT Level 8 Skills Conversion Programme (PDF)

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