The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is seeking expressions of interest (EOIs) from Industry and HEI partnerships (or consortia) wishing to participate in a national pilot to deliver a post-graduate programme in professional practice (PGPP). The pilot is intended to provide an opportunity for graduates to acquire cross disciplinary skills in a work based environment and will examine ways to provide a systemic bridging between education and employment through opportunities for level 8 graduates to acquire cross disciplinary skills and a type of structured professional experience which would help them to gain traction within the world class industrial base here in Ireland. It is anticipated that a number of PGPP programmes could be included under the pilot which is intended to commence no later than 30th March 2014.
This proposal for a pilot of PGPPs is based on the premise that the sophistication and technological intensity of Ireland’s enterprise clusters in core technologies such as bio, nano and cyber are transforming products and the way they are designed, produced and serviced. In that context, traditional entry points for graduates are also changing and increasingly there are expanding opportunities for those with cross disciplinary skills as well as workplace experience. The proposal is broadly analogous to the approach taken in medical practice, engineering and internships in other countries where a period of post graduate practice based learning is undertaken in a work place setting prior to registration as a professional. It is focused directly on industry’s current and future human resource needs in the STEM-based sectors. It is designed to give each participant a) experience in practice, b) transferable skills, and c) new unique job skills. It is differentiated from existing internship programmes available to graduates by providing an accredited post graduate qualification which would be delivered in the workplace through joint enterprise and higher education partnerships. Dialogue with industry has confirmed that an expanded and highly relevant skills pool would enhance Ireland’s capacity to develop and deepen its industrial base by attracting new investment. Being able to demonstrate the development of that skills pool through collaborative industry/higher education partnerships also has the potential to further enhance the value proposition of Ireland as a location for investment. As well as potentially delivering a strategic investment in Ireland’s workforce of international significance, it will also be a contributor to the further alignment of our education and training system with labour market needs, a process which is critical to the creation of sustainable job opportunities in Ireland based on global competitiveness.
It is proposed that participants on the programmes to be piloted would undertake an accredited internship at a partner company leading to the award of a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Practice at level 9 on the NFQ. It is anticipated that the PGPP would comprise 3 modules of 30 credits; Personal Development and Employability, Organisational Context and Practice Specialisation, aimed at ensuring that the graduate intern gains knowledge, skills and competence that both broaden and deepen their on-the-job learning. It is intended that the programme would be delivered primarily within the workplace setting (e.g. work-based, distance and/or blended learning techniques) and that the host company and their higher education partner would be jointly responsible for supervising and assessing the achievement of the learning outcomes throughout the period of the programme internship which would be 9 months in duration.
Industry and HEI partnerships (or consortia of partners) are therefore invited to submit expressions indicating their interest in participating in a national pilot. Interested consortia should complete the EOI template attached setting out the skills or opportunity areas to be targeted, the proposed programme structure, the scale of the programme (number of participants) and the intended costs and cost sharing model. Completed EOI templates should be submitted by e-mail to Tim Conlon (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 5.00 pm (GMT) on Friday 15th November 2013. Submissions received after this time will not be considered for inclusion in the Pilot.
As a support to consortia intending to submit an expression of interest, the HEA has collated some useful documents here: