The number of ICT learners in Northern Ireland has increased by 40 times since the offer of free ICT classes for all citizens and the real impacts on the economy are now starting to be realised. In Galway, for example, the success of software engineers is creating more job opportunities in endpoint security.
Government investment in ICT learners underlines their future importance to Northern Ireland’s economy and highlights the role of the current population of ICT professionals.
Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey, has reported that 1,361 learners achieved 1,384 ICT essential skills qualifications in June 2010. “Free essential skills provision is delivering real results for our people by addressing the needs of learners and supplying employers with access to a high-skilled, demand-led labour pool,” he said.
Opportunities for ICT learners
The high take-up also indicates that the working population recognises the importance of skills development, especially in the critical STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. These subjects “will be central to our future economic competitiveness,” said Empey.
Prospective ICT professionals or improvers interested in free entry-level ICT classes are invited to log onto Careers Service NI or visit nidirect. While up-skilling continues apace, IT implementations in the public sector continue to play a major role in revitalising the region’s economy. Among the current crop of government projects hiring are:
In-mate management systems
Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) has set out to improve efficiency in the management of in-mates in prisons, which have an increasingly diverse prisoner population. Specifically, it aims to use ICT to comply with stringent data access, protection, and information security standards.
As a preliminary stage to the project, NIPS has commissioned Sopra Group to replace disparate IT and manual prisoner management systems with a single database and integrated, automated suite of tools.
Partner for public transport
Northern Ireland's Department for Regional Development is looking for a partner to develop an IT strategy. The IT strategy will support the development of intelligent transport systems, and the general business needs of the transport agency.
Key personnel who will responsible for providing the services will have a minimum of three years' experience of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, to include practical experience of delivering public transportation systems and the integration of such systems and supporting infrastructure."
Galway software success
In the Republic of Ireland and globally, Galway is strengthening its reputation as a software engineering hub as endpoint security specialists, Lumension, expands its global R&D centre. The security specialist opened its facility in the city only last October and plans to up its 30-strong staff to over 50 people by the end of 2010.
“Today’s announcement will create even more opportunities for skilled, team-oriented individuals”, said Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O'Keeffe. "Eight of the world's top 10 technology firms are based in Ireland," he said, before going on to describe Lumension's expansion plans as "very encouraging for Ireland's information communications technology sector" and praising the work of the country’s software engineers that have helped the company exceed growth projections.
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