The HEA provides funding to support a number of ICT initiatives such as retention and summer camps.
The HEA Information Technology Investment Fund (ITIF)
The HEA administers the above fund which provides annual funding to HEI’s to support initiatives in ICT programme retention and the provision of summer computing camps for second level students.
Summer Computing Camps
Technology Skills 2022 sets out a plan to build on the previous ICT Action Plans and to provide appropriate education and training pathways for people to train, learn and upskill in a variety of high-level ICT Skills to meet demand and to ensure the continued growth of the Irish economy.
As you are aware the HEA has allocated annual funding to the Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) under the Information Technology Investment Fund (ITIF) since the early 2000’s (annual allocation of €5,000). Funding under this initiative is provided for computing camps to encourage second level students to consider ICT and computing careers. In addition, since 2017, the HEA provided allocations for the provision of ICT Summer Camps to further support the continued high demand for ICT graduates.
A number of HEI’s have reported that they consider the request to run both camps and associated reporting on both sets of camps to be onerous, especially where an institution has expanded its existing ITIF provision to provide for either additional student numbers or the provision of more camps locally and regionally with the support of the additional ICT Summer Camp funding. Indeed some HEI’s have decided, due to resource issues, not to run any annual summer camps.
Following this feedback, the Executive has decided to merge both the ITIF annual allocation and the allocation for the ICT Summer Camps in 2020. Therefore, in 2020 an amount of €355,000 is ringfenced to support the delivery of ICT Summer Camps for second level students. These camps will build on the success of the those hosted in HEIs in 2019. A report on the 2019 activity accompanies this letter.
As in previous years the Summer Camps are aimed at second level students, with a primary focus to encourage young participants (including a focus on female participation) to consider a career in ICT and especially computing careers.
Your institution is invited to submit a proposal which should include the following details:
- Examples of existing good practice of provision in this area in your institution,
- Outline of proposed programme(s),
- Number and schedule of proposed camp(s),
- Details on promotion of camp(s),
- Details of all associated costs to run the camp(s)
It is important to note that there will be no change made to the annual ITIF Retention Fund allocations.
The closing date for receipt of proposals is 28 February 2020. Proposals should be submitted by email to Maria Cross email@example.com.
HEIs allocate funding across specific ICT programme retention activities. The HEA through the Information Technology Investment Fund (ITIF) provides an annual allocation to HEI’s to support activities which focus on integration of incoming students, supports and facilities for all students, and targeted activities for students experiencing difficulties
Level 9 Graduate Skills Conversion Course
In 2012 an estimated 68,280 ICT professionals were working within the ICT sector and across other sectors of the economy. According the to the report of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs” Addressing Future Demand for High Level ICT Skills” Ireland is likely to face an average increase in demand of 5% a year to 2018 with employment of ICT professionals likely to reach 91,000. Ireland is home to the 9 of the top 10 global software companies as well as all of the top ten internet companies including social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter.
In order to ensure a continuous supply of high skilled graduates for this sector in Ireland €1 million was allocated in Budget 2017 to support the provision of Level 9 MSc Computer Science conversion programmes to commence in the academic year 2017/18.
These programmes are aimed at individuals who hold a minimum of a primary degree in another discipline (e.g., Arts, Business) seeking to enter an ICT career. The maximum grant allowed is €5,000 per student irrespective of the fee charged by the institution.