Partnership and planning align to grow IT industry

Author

Niall Casey
Apr 02, 2015

Employment opportunities in Northern Ireland’s Information and Communications (IT) industry are growing. This has created a continued need to identify new talent to fill the current and imminent job vacancies.

In 2012, Invest NI funded research for the Northern Ireland e-skills Employers’ Board which indicated that employment in our IT sector has the potential to grow to over 50,000 by 2018. Collaborative work has been ongoing since to make sure Northern Ireland has the IT skills it needs to succeed in the global digital economy.

 

Align IT, Momentum, Sentinus and e-Skills UK are among the organisations involved in addressing the skills challenges facing the sector and increasing the profile of IT related careers in Northern Ireland.

Bring IT On, Software Testers Academy and apprenticeships are some of the initiatives which are making valuable contributions towards this objective.

From September 2015, 10 local schools will be in a position to offer A Level students a software systems design course, in the knowledge that UU’s Magee campus has courses suited to this qualification.

Bespoke training academies, funded through DEL’s Assured Skills Programme, are also ensuring that our talent pool develop the skills and experience required to take up exciting new opportunities being created by employers including Alexander Mann Solutions, White Hat Security and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Align IT’s online portal IT3Sixty is the latest strategy being rolled out to help tackle the skills gap. Initially the portal will targeted at attracting sources of talent from outside N.I. with subsequent phases focussing on promoting new talent and upskilling existing IT Professionals. The key features of the 1st phase will be:

  • Current IT job vacancies
  • Benefits of living and working in Northern Ireland
  • Profile of the range of companies in the IT sector in Northern Ireland
  • A schedule/calendar of local events
  • A repository to hold CVs and applications
  • A matching service between candidates and organisations

Launched today, this site will be used to target experienced IT professionals, local students undertaking relevant courses at overseas colleges, NI Diaspora as well as EU nationals and to encourage these people to apply for jobs in Northern Ireland.

This sector continues to provide an increasing contribution to rebalancing our economy, offering wages which are significantly above the private sector average. Therefore, developing the skills of our current and future workforce will be essential if we are to continue to grow the IT sector and ultimately achieve our economic aspirations.

The strength of our IT sector is pivotal to Northern Ireland’s economy and Invest NI is encouraging local IT employers to get involved in this network and take the opportunity to influence and inform future skills policy.

To get involved contact Sheila & Clair at alignit@e-skills.com.

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