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February 2015 Minister English Highlights Success of Action Plan for Jobs during Visit to NUI Galway
Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D., recently visited NUI Galway’s students, academic staff and industry partners involved in the Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development (Industry Stream). The visit coincided with the Government’s launch of Action Plan for Jobs 2015.
The Minister welcomed the opportunity to meet with students and graduates of the programme who are experiencing the benefit of the Government’s SpringBoard ICT Skills investment. He also met with a number of local industry partners who have partnered with NUI Galway on this innovative programme such as Avaya, Storm Technologies and INSIGHT.
Speaking during the visit, Minister English said: “Earlier today we launched the Action Plan for Jobs 2015 and a key element of that is a National Talent Drive which involves a 60% increase in the number of ICT graduates from higher education by 2018. The importance of these objectives were never so obvious than here today after meeting with such talented and enthusiastic graduates who are benefitting from those efforts.”
Programme Director, Dr Enda Howley advocated the return on investment of ICT conversion programmes for the economy: “We are now seeing our graduates successfully win lucrative salaries that are resulting in the initial investment being reimbursed more than four times in the first 12 months of graduation through direct and indirect taxation. No other investment could offer such a fast and significant return for the government. We are very fortunate to have experienced such a positive engagement from industry by providing paid internships for our students prior to enrolment in the programme. This unique arrangement allows us to reskill each student specifically for each company’s technology requirements, in return for the promise of a paid internship at the end of the programme. This is the ultimate win-win for all involved, and we look forward to continuing this engagement over the coming years. 90% of our programme graduates are now in long-term employment in software companies.”
The ICT Skills scheme was devised by the Higher Education Authority in 2012 to fund the University fees of suitable graduates from areas such as engineering and science for reskilling to meet the skills shortage in the software development industry. NUI Galway has developed the Higher Diploma programme with a view to selecting highly performing level 8 graduates and pairing them for re-training and internships with our participating industry partners.
Applications for the 2015-16 academic year will open in May, and potential applicants or partner companies are encouraged to contact the Programme Director Dr Enda Howley for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org.