One hundred years ago those who went before us fought for our freedom and thankfully the biggest battle we now face is how to shape a better century for all of our citizens. The recently published Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025 states ‘Increasingly Ireland is competing globally on the basis of talent and on Ireland’s growing reputation for innovation. Winning the war for talent can be achieved by ensuring that all of Ireland’s citizens have access to the skills they need to succeed in life, and Irish business has the people with the skills they need to grow. This is also critical to securing our recovery and ensuring Ireland’s people share in that recovery.’
From the FIT perspective, we are witnessing significant growth and opportunity for job seekers who attain medium level tech skills at level 5 or level 6 with practical application. The FIT ICT Associate Professional programme commenced in May 2015. Already over 80 companies have sponsored 142 participants across the country on this first of its kind, dual-education / apprenticeship type programme at level 6 and this figure will exceed 220 before the end of the year.
Industry bodies value further education
IBEC / ICT Ireland and the Irish Software Association (ISA) describe the FIT ICT Associate Professional programme, in a recent joint publication Making Ireland a Global Technology Powerhouse, as a ‘game changer’ and request that ‘the next Government must promote this innovative educational scheme and encourage participation ‘. In the same document, they called for the next ICT Skills Action Plan to be augmented to include the further education sector as a contributor to meeting the talent demand.
Education and training boards are Key Partners
Five FIT ICTAP programmes are currently running with the collaboration and support of SOLAS and Education and Training Boards including those in Dublin, Cork, Dun Laoghaire, Cavan, Monaghan, Longford, Westmeath, Galway, Roscommon, Kildare, Wicklow, Louth, Meath, Laois and Offaly. Feedback to date, from sponsoring companies on the calibre of the candidates and their growing competencies is overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic – to the extent we are now seeing some companies advance booking places on future planned programmes as part of their manpower planning strategies.
FURTHER EDUCATION MEETING THE NEEDS OF TECH SECTOR
FIT sees an increasing opportunity for the further education sector to support the skills needs of a growing and diverse tech sector. Recent examples which illustrate this include:
– Intel engaged with FIT in the development of an advanced Manufacturing Technician Programme at L6 which has just commenced in a centre of excellence established in partnership with Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board in Celbridge and supported by SOLAS.
– ‘In-demand’ level 5 or level 6 technology courses developed by FIT and run under SOLAS’s Momentum programme in collaboration with a number of Education and Training Boards are achieving substantial placements into employment.
– Internationally, just last month Deloitte stated that a third level qualification was no longer a requirement for job applicants.
– FIT partners with Education and Training Boards in addressing skills needs and recruitment demands of predominantly tech and related sectors and we are encouraged to now see significant placements (into real jobs) reminiscent of pre-recession times.
– FIT’s current research into tech-related sectors of eHealth, FinTech and the Internet of Things (IoT) suggest similar interest and opportunity for jobs seekers attaining mid-level skills which can be readily attained through further education programmes.
‘Winning the war for talent can be achieved by ensuring that all of Ireland’s citizens have access to the skills they need to succeed in life, and Irish business has the people with the skills they need to grow.’ Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025
and customer facing skills. The technology sector in Ireland is much broader and more varied than most people realise -with an appetite for ‘Smart People with Smart Skills’ -who have a wide range of talents and attributes, and most importantly the enthusiasm to work in the sector. We know it works!
What is FIT ICT Associate Professional?
FIT ICT Associate Professional is a dual education apprenticeship-style format of ICT skills training which has been endorsed by the industry and government. This ‘learn and earn’ model of provision is a two-year programme during which you will attain a Level 6 ICT and Professional Development Qualification and will be awarded the title of FIT ICT Associate Professional by the industry. The first 6 months are college-based where candidates will acquire the technical acumen. The remaining 18 months are a combination of workplace application and college-based learning where candidates will further their skills development and apply their learning to live projects within their sponsoring company.
Where is it running?
Five programmes are already up and running, 3 in Dublin and one each in Cork, Athlone, Galway and Monaghan. More programmes will commence throughout 2016 in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Louth, Mayo/Sligo/Leitrim.
What does it cost?
The FIT ICT Associate Professional training is funded by SOLAS and the Education & Training Boards so there’s no fees.
What will I earn?
Once you commence your work experience with your Sponsor company in the 7th month of the programme, you will receive an allowance of between €260 and €290 per week for the remainder of the first year. In the second year of the programme, you will receive between €340 and €385 per week.
How do I sign up?
If you are a keen tech enthusiast and are interested in participating in the FIT ICT Associate Professional programme, then contact FIT at ICTAP@fit.ie or give us a call on 01 8825570 or lo-call on 1890 815 704.
See www.fit.ie for further information.