Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, and Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan, TD today (Monday 20th March) announced additional funding of €2.25 Million to boost ICT Skills development with additional summer camps for second level students being developed, as well as up to 700 additional places on ICT courses.
The Higher Education Authority (HEA) will write to higher education institutions to seek proposals for three calls:
· Additional ICT Summer Camps for second level students,
· Additional undergraduate places on core level 8 full-time courses
· A call for full-time level 9 MSc computing courses.
Making the announcement, Minister Bruton said:
“A goal of the Action Plan for Education is to build stronger bridges between education and the wider community, support learners to make informed career choices and enhance our capacity to meet national and regional skills needs.
“We want to give student’s access to higher education people and spaces to help stimulate their interest and understanding of what computing and ICT is all about. Through summer camps students get hands-on experience of a variety of activities like programming, coding, app design, digital media, web design, gaming and robotics. This can help children develop the computational, and flexible and creative thinking skills that are the basis of computer science and coding.
“In 2016, the HEA provided funding to support 29 computing camps for over 1,245 students. Camps typically target transition year students and typically run for a week. Last year, 40% of participants in these ICT summer camps were girls – which is a great achievement. Last year I published the STEM report, and set out our ambition to be a world leader in the provision of STEM education. I indicated that I would proceed to implement 21 priority actions, including actions to increase the take up of STEM subjects by girls.
“Today, I am pleased to announce the call for the provision of additional ICT summer camps. I have ring-fenced €250,000 in Budget 2017 to support an increase in activity this year. This funding will enable the institutions to run extra camps or increase the number of places on camps already planned.
“We also have a target of providing an additional 700 places on computing courses in 2017/18 through the calls issuing today.”
Minister Halligan added:
“Through the implementation of the ICT Skills Action Plan 2014-2018 we are seeking to increase the supply of ICT Professionals to meet the continuing increase in demand for people with these skills.
“I’m delighted that new funding ring-fenced in Budget 2017 will be used to incentivise the provision of additional undergraduate places on core ICT Level 8 courses. A second call is also issuing for provision of a new full-time Level 9 computer science conversion course.
“Data shows that of our 2015 graduates at Honours Bachelor Degree level, Computer Science/ICT graduates are the highest earners, with 57 per cent earning €29,000 or more with 93% in employment or further study 9 months after graduation.
“€2.25 million was ring-fenced in Budget 2017 to support these initiatives. The HEA is notifying the higher education institutions and the closing date for receipt of proposals is 18th April 2017.”