10 April, 2013 - 2,000 additional ICT graduates to be provided in the coming year as part of Government drive to make Ireland the internet capital of Europe – Minister Quinn, Minister Bruton

Target of 700 additional work-employment permits in ICT sector under new reforms driven by Minister Bruton

An additional 1,300 graduates from industry led programmes delivered by Minister Quinn

A total of 2,000 additional ICT graduates-level professionals will be provided in the coming year through the education system and the employment permits system, as part of a series of reforms aimed at making Ireland the internet capital of Europe. The reforms are being driven by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, and the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD. 

The changes are part of Action Plan for Jobs 2013, and have an ultimate aim of providing Ireland with the highest proportion of ICT graduates as a share of third level graduates by 2018.

The Ministers made the announcements today at Version 1, a leading Irish ICT company. Based in Dublin, it employs over 350 people and has hired several people in senior technology positions through the employment permits system in recent years. This has allowed the company to win new business and ultimately create new jobs. Version 1 is also announcing today that it is hiring ten people, who have all graduated from the new ICT conversion courses and are soon finishing work placements within the company.

A series of new reforms to the work-employment permits system announced today by Minister Bruton will target:

  • An increase of 50%, or 700, in the number of employment permits granted over the coming year in the ICT sector. International research has shown that for every high-tech job created, a further 4-5 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy.
  • A reduction of 33% in the processing time for employment permits
  • Improvements in the appeals process and a reduction in the number of appeals
  • Broadening the highly-skilled eligible occupations list
  • Improved customer service and communications
  • Other areas where there is also a shortage of sufficient skilled talent

The employment permit system is demand-led and there is a global demand for high-tech skills. Therefore the changes being made to the system seek to increase Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for international mobile talent.

Under the ICT Skills Action Plan published by Ministers Quinn and Bruton last year, an additional 1,300 ICT graduates will be supplied in 2013 by the education system, including:

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, said:

“The ICT sector forms a key part of the Government’s plans for jobs and growth, and since we have come to office we have seen an increase of more than 11,000 in the number of people at work in this sector. We in Government are determined to sustain this growth with ambitious action to make Ireland the internet capital of Europe. In order to do this we must have structures in place, through the employment permits system as well as the education system, to ensure that Irish and multinational businesses in the sector cancan hire the skilled workers they need in Ireland.

“International research has shown that every high-tech job created leads to an additional 4-5 jobs elsewhere in the economy. 50% of companies in Silicon Valley are started by non-US citizens. These changes are a win-win for Ireland, and help will ensure that we can create a truly world-class ICT sector in Ireland, which will provide enormous benefits for the economy and large numbers of badly-needed jobs for Irish workers. I am determined that, through implementation of a range of ambitious reforms we will deliver on our aim of making Ireland the internet capital of Europe.

“I wish to pay tribute to a range of senior industry figures, in particular Sean O’Sullivan, for their work in helping to develop these proposals”.

Minister Quinn TD said: “The first 400 graduates from the ICT conversion programmes are now available.  The decision by Version 1 to recruit 10 of these graduates demonstrates the potential that exists to significantly expand the pool of talent available to the ICT sector. “

A further 300 graduates from  the conversion programmes will be available before the end of the year as well as 600 graduates from high level Springboard ICT programmes. The impact of these initiatives will be to double the projected output of honours degree level ICT graduates from the education system in 2013.

Commenting further, the Minister said: “By working together to design and deliver the ICT conversion programmes, industry and the higher education system are helping to create tangible employment opportunities for graduates in key growth areas of the economy.”

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Reforms to be delivered in the Employment Permits (EP) System include:

  1. Changing about 100 of the current 192 rules.  
  2. Through process improvements, reducing the processing time by at least 33%.
  3. Streamlining  the appeals process.
  4. Broadening and updating the Highly Skilled Occupations list and Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits list.
  5. Reducing the remuneration threshold in respect of the Work Permit EP for a limited number of categories to below the current level of €30k p.a.
  6. A range of initiatives with the Department of Justice and Equality (DJE) to increase the potential pool of employment permit applicants.
  7. Improving customer service and communications through revised information on our website and through timesaving changes for employers.

It is envisaged that the improvements under all the phases will deliver:

  • A target of at least 700 additional successful applications in respect of IT skills; this represents a 50% increase on the 1,366 of permits issued in respect of the ICT sector in 2012
  • 33% decrease in typical processing times by June 2013;
  • Reduction in backlog from 5 weeks to 3 weeks by June 2013;
  • Decrease in appeals due to better communications and processes

Further details are available on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation’s website: http://www.djei.ie/labour/workpermits/.

Measures to increase the supply of graduates from the education system:

  • Details of the ICT conversion programmes from which graduates will be available in 2013 are attached. The Higher Education Authority can assist employers in making contact with the providers and the new graduates.
  • Graduates can still apply for places on the 2013 ICT conversion programmes.  Further details are available on the dedicated information and applications site: www.ictskills.ie.
  • The introduction of the ICT skills conversion programmes was a priority action in the joint industry Government ICT Action Plan published in 2012. The text of the Plan is available at link
  • The Springboard initiative provides free higher education re-skilling opportunities for unemployed and previously self employed people in areas of emerging skills needs, including ICT.  It is projected that 600 people will graduate from ICT Springboard programmes at honours or masters degree level in 2013.