The ICT Skills Working Group of Northern Ireland is a regional coalition of stakeholders, convened in January 2012 by the Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr. Stephen Farry MLA, in response to industry concerns regarding skills shortages being experienced locally.
The Group manages an Action Plan setting out the short, medium and long term actions required to ensure that the local ICT industry has access to the skilled workforce it needs to grow and flourish, both now and in the future. The actions are divided into three main areas: skills provision, sector attractiveness, and coordination and communication.
The project has already had an impact on increasing the quality and quantity of the skilled workforce available to the local ICT Industry. This has been achieved by raising applications for IT-related degrees at our local universities, developing IT apprenticeship schemes, and running conversion courses to train individuals for the ICT sector.
ICT Skills Action Plan deliveries will focus on
- Ensuring there is an accurate, and continually updated picture of the supply of skilled individuals with the capability of working in the ICT sector and the demand for those individuals in the local ICT industry;
- Ensuring young people consider career choices in which ICT plays a key role;
- Ensuring the ICT curriculum taught in schools, further education and higher education and through apprenticeship provision meets the needs of local ICT employers, and;
- Attracting members of the Northern Ireland diaspora, capable of working in the ICT sector to return to Northern Ireland, as well as attracting in suitably skilled and experienced individuals from other countries.
The ICT Skills Working Group enables stakeholders to work together to maximise opportunities with the goals of creating 22,000 new jobs in the ICT sector in the next five years and adding around £800 million GVA to Norther Ireland's economy in the next ten years.
The ICT Skills Working Group brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from relevant government departments, higher education, further education, employers, employer representative bodies, sector skills councils and trade associations. A list of participants can be found below:
- Local ICT Employers: Equiniti-ICS, Kainos, Citi, Liberty IT, Asidua, Xperience Group, ICONI Software
- Industry Bodies: e-skills UK, Momentum, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Northern Ireland, NI Chamber of Commerce, Sentinus
- Higher Education: Queen’s University Belfast, University of Ulster, Open University
- Further Education: Further Education Economic Engagement Group, Belfast Metropolitan College
- Government Departments: Department for Employment and Learning – Lead Partner and Secretariat, Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment, Department of Education, Invest NI