Having spent the past number of months meeting with representatives from major multinational companies, since being appointed spokerperson on Science, Technology, R&D, it has become clear that the standard of ICT graduates can be improved. Our ICT skilled graduates has increase year on year yet the standard of graduate, according to some companies, could do with improving. This opinion from industry professionals echoes what was said by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report in 2013 stating that the quantity and quality of ICT graduates should be boosted. Yet three years on it seems not much has been done to change the situation.
I would urge the Minister for Education and Science Richard Bruton T.D. to accelerate the introduction of coding into the Junior Cycle and introducing ICT and computer science subjects into the Leaving Cert. By way of parliamentary question I am aware the Minister is seeking advice from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). I would be keen to press the Minister in having the NCCA expedite the delivery of this advice. It is imperative the Government don’t stall on this issue. Otherwise this will damage our lasting ability to attract the major technology companies whose competitors have favoured Ireland in previous years.
The Governments 2016 Action Plan for Jobs included a commitment to identify additional measures that might be taken to boost the supply of skilled workers in the ICT industry. Following my meetings with industry professionals it is clear that the Government now need to improve ICT skills at second level. This should be done as a matter of urgency.