1,250 additional college places to be added to ICT from next year

The two organisations have now formalised their relationship of over two decades by identifying joint areas of interest for greater collaboration in research and innovation, shaping public policy in key areas and development of future talent.

In response to the global demand for Information and Communication Technology graduates, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has proposed to double the number of graduates from ICT courses over the next four years.

The proposal seeks a commitment from the higher education system to increase the number of additional students on core ICT courses by 1,250 each year, up to 2018.

Colleges proposing additional places will set out their links with the ICT enterprise community and the work placement opportunities that will be available to students.

Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the HEA, said: “We have nine out of the top ten global software companies, nine out of the top ten US tech companies and an increasingly exciting scene for indigenous tech start-ups. To maintain this position into the future, the pipeline of skilled ICT graduates from Irish higher education must continue to grow.”

Rory O’Connor, Head of The School of Communications in DCU highlighted the importance of gauging demand for ICT course in Ireland.

“In addition to increasing ICT course places, there must also be action to address student interest in and demand for ICT, to increase student demand and interest in ICT and female participation in particular.”

O’Connor added that ICT needs more promotion nationally: “There is a role for universities to ensure they are getting the message out to school leavers. Also there is a role for industry and government bodies such as the IDA to promote careers in ICT areas.”

The addition of more ICT course places would also have a direct impact on the shortages of staff, equipment and physical space in many higher level institutes according to O’Connor.

“Whilst DCU would like to see more people opting for ICT courses, we have to be mindful of the challenges of additional students. There are ongoing resource challenges which need to be addressed.”

Elaine Carroll

Image Credit: Aidan Broletti

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