Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Ceisteanna (60, 61, 62)

Seán Kyne

Ceist:

63 Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made in implementing the action plan on ICT skills, in particular the measures enacted to assist jobseekers in acquiring the ICT skills needed to benefit from the recent substantial job announcements in the ICT sector which serve as an indicator of future job growth and the emergence of ICT hubs. [23230/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Kyne

Ceist:

67 Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will report on the up-take of the Bluebrick ICT programmes; the completion rate of courses and the numbers of students who have progressed from job placements to employment under this initiative. [23360/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Kyne

Ceist:

68 Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will report on the progress made on introducing a higher diploma level 8 conversion programme in order that graduates from other sectors can convert to the ICT sector which is providing new employment opportunities through its expansion and innovation. [23362/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Skills)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 63, 67 and 68 together.

The new Higher Diploma Level 8 Conversion ICT Programmes targeted at jobseekers have been rolling out from March 2012. To date 682 students have accepted places or are enrolled on these programmes countrywide. A preliminary evaluation of applicant data shows that there has been strong demand for these programmes from high quality applicants. More than 80% of participants have degree level or postgraduate qualifications. A quarter of participants were previously employed in the construction sector. A preliminary analysis of qualifications responses show that approximately 8% have qualifications in Architecture, architectural technology or Built Environment and a further 15% have qualifications in Engineering (mostly civil and mechanical engineering) with others qualified in mathematics, science, accountancy, commerce and other disciplines. None of the programmes have completed yet but there will be ongoing monitoring of the programmes and an evaluation of the outcomes as graduates emerge early next year.

Other actions provided for in the Plan are also under way including the establishment of a new high level Academic Industry Foresight Group. The publication of the Plan has also contributed to raised awareness of the employment opportunities for graduates from these disciplines. While it is too early to assess increased numbers onto undergraduate ICT programmes, early indications from CAO application data are very promising. The number of students expressing a first preference for Science courses (including Computing) at honours degree level (level 8) increased by 18.47% this year and over the five year period 2008-12, this figure has increased by a total of 63.5%. It is expected that this will feed through into increased enrolments in September 2012.