University lecturers are teaching basic computing concepts which could and should be taught in primary school, says software engineer Stephanie Sheehan. Photo: iStock
aoiseach, we have a problem.
That’s something Leo Varadkar is probably hearing more and more these days, but he would do well to take a very close look at a worrying statistic in today’s CAO results.
We know how important technology is and how the country’s economic future will be greatly influenced by our ability to produce highly skilled software developers, computer scientists and engineers capable of leading the drive for technological innovation and advancement.
Those of us working in the software industry live that aspiration every day and drive it on relentlessly.
But on the political, social and educational levels there is a disturbing gap between aspiration and reality.
We’ve had no shortage of national plans and programmes stressing what needs to be done.
Take, for example, the first sentence in Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025: “Ireland is competing globally on the basis of talent and on Ireland’s growing reputation for innovation.
“Winning the war for talent can be achieved by ensuring that all of Ireland’s citizens have access to the skills they need to succeed in life; and Irish business has the people with the skills they need to grow.”
Here’s more: “Employers cannot source more relevant skills without responsive education and training providers nor without students pursuing the right education and training courses.”
Speaking at its 2016 launch, minister of State Damien English said: “Winning the war for talent is key to keeping the recovery going and for future sustainable economic growth.”
He said this as the Manpower Group reported the highest global shortage in skilled talent in more than a decade. Of more than 42,000 employers surveyed, 40 per cent reported difficulties in filling roles.
So the Government speaks of winning the war for talent in the context of increased global competition for fewer highly-skilled people when our future depends on being at the cutting edge of technology.