Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys T.D. launch Technology Skills 2022: Ireland’s Third ICT Skills Action Plan

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys T.D. today (Monday 18 February 2019) have announced targets to deliver more than 47,000 graduates with high level ICT skills by 2022.

Technology Skills 2022: Ireland’s Third ICT Skills Action Plan sets out priority actions to meet Ireland’s needs for graduates skilled in computing and electronic and electrical engineering to support and drive economic performance over the coming years.

The plan is informed by research conducted by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN).

The ambitious targets in the plan will increase the total number of graduates with high-level ICT skills by more than 5,000 every year by 2022.

Before the introduction of this plan it was intended to increase the number of graduates annually, from across the education and training system, to 9,230 by 2022 – an increase of 1,800.

The interventions outlined in Technology Skills 2022 will now provide a further 3,200 graduates every year by 2022 – meaning more than 12,450 people will graduate in high-level ICT Skills areas in 2022.

Some of the measures to grow graduate numbers include:
– Expanding the number of graduates from mainstream computing and electrical and electronic engineering courses in higher education from 4,220 to 4,830 by 2022.
– Expanding the numbers of relevant Skillnet Ireland programmes which are aligned with the NFQ by more than 1,000 by 2022.
– Providing new options to embed high-level ICT apprenticeships within the education and training sector to attract more than 1,000 new entrants per year by 2020.
– A high-level ICT reskilling pathway to provide opportunities for up to 2,750 people from diverse backgrounds between 2019-2022.

Programmes will target areas of high demand and high potential growth, including Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Animation, Gaming, Blockchain, Internet of Things, 3D Printing, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Cybersecurity/Next Generation Security.

The successful model of partnership with industry on many programmes will continue.

Launching the action plan at Pramerica in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Minister McHugh said: “Our ability to produce, attract and retain graduates with high-level ICT skills is vital to our future economic performance.
“Technology Skills 2022 sets out a programme for co-operation between the education and training sector and industry which will ensure that we have the skillsets in place to drive development both within the technology sector and, given the fundamental nature of technology, across the wider economy.

“The education and training sector has responded strongly to demand for high-level ICT skills, with a 70% increase in the numbers of graduates with degree level qualifications over the past six years.  

“This plan will support targeted funding to help the sector, once again, deliver on Ireland’s skills needs – with a target of up to 12,500 graduates per annum by 2022.”

The EGFSN report found that the demand for high-level ICT skills are forecast to grow, driven by strong market demand and the spread of digitalisation across all sectors of the economy.

The number of job openings for high-level ICT professionals is set to reach 18,000 a year by 2022.
Additionally, the recruitment of ICT professionals from overseas will be contribute to the supply of the needed high-level skills in Ireland and to support the rapid pace of technological change expected over the coming years.

Minister Humphreys said: “The continued development and attraction of an adequate pipeline of high level ICT professionals is not just an issue confined to the technology sector, but a national economic priority.

“Every industry requires the skillsets necessary to deploy and exploit emerging technologies and functions. This plan, which is an excellent example of collaboration between Government and industry, will be crucial to maintaining and advancing the competitiveness and confidence in Irish-based enterprise both domestically and in global markets in the years ahead.”

Tech Skills 2022 was developed through collaboration between the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, with input from the education and training sector, State agencies and industry.

Minister McHugh added: “Government, the education and training sector and industry must work together to realise the ambition of Technology Skills 2022. I am confident that through collaboration we can drive the implementation of this plan and achieve the target set.”