Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry today encouraged young people across Northern Ireland to consider a career in Information Communication Technology (ICT) to mark National ICT day.
Two “Bring IT On” conferences to encourage 16-19 year olds to consider a career in ICT, will be held on the 28 February in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast and on the 29 February in the Millennium Forum, Londonderry. These are organised by e-skills UK, the Sector Skills Council for Business and Information Technology, in conjunction with Momentum, the ICT Federation for Northern Ireland, Invest NI and the Department for Employment and Learning.
Speaking ahead of the planned events the Minister said: “These events will demonstrate the exciting opportunities that a career in ICT can offer in order to attract more young people into this sector. ICT is a growth sector of the future and it affects every aspect of our lives - not just through the things we use every day like our mobile phones, social media channels and computers but it's vital in so many other sectors, such as engineering and medicine.
“To grow our economy we need to ensure our local workforce has the right skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). My Department is working with e-skills to highlight potential careers paths so that our young people may consider jobs which they wouldn't otherwise have done.
“I have also set up an ICT Working Group to examine the skills required by the industry so we can facilitate its growth in recognition of this sector as a key driver in the local economy.”
The conferences will promote a career in ICT to young people through inspirational speakers, online quizzes, exhibition areas and various other activities.
Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive with Invest Northern Ireland said: “The ICT sector is a key driver of our economy, but to ensure continued success it needs a world-class, highly skilled and effective workforce. Invest Northern Ireland is committed to ensuring businesses in the sector have access to professionals with the right skills to ensure the future growth and prosperity.”
Mr Hamilton continued: “These National ICT events are a fantastic opportunity for young people to experience the diversity of Northern Ireland’s exciting ICT sector. I hope that they will be inspired to follow a career path with some of the companies participating – However I also hope that some of them can be inspired to develop their own entrepreneurial skills and start their own IT business.”
Building on the success of last year’s event, these conferences will feature the Bring IT On brand and there will be ambassadors, key employers and stakeholders from the sector promoting ICT to the students. Inspirational speakers will be a feature of the day, exploring the wide variety and flexibility of career opportunities in the ICT sector.
Students will be able to engage directly with employers, learn about careers, examine and investigate how technology impacts on and assists in our everyday lives and also hear about future initiatives from leading industry figures in Northern Ireland. Leading ICT employers, FE providers and Universities will be present to bring students up-to-date with the current and future opportunities available within the industry.
Speaking before the events, Mark Feeney, Operations Manager at e-skills UK said: “Northern Ireland needs to work hard to retain its position as a recognised global leader in software development throughout the world. The inspiration behind Bring IT On is to inform and excite learners about the opportunities that exist within Northern Ireland’s fastest growing industry. Research suggests the industry in Northern Ireland needs over 9,200 new entrants over the next five years to fulfil planned growth. The action we are taking today will help realise this growth by inspiring young people to join this fast-moving and rewarding sector.’’
For more information on the Bring IT On programme please see www.bringitonni.info or email firstname.lastname@example.org