A new website and promotional video, designed to promote ICT and FinTech learning and earning opportunities in Co Donegal to young people has been launched. The website, www.ictfintech.ie and accompanying promotional video, was launched in Pramerica by the Donegal ICT/FinTech Working Group with support from Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh, TD. It aims to inform young people and their parents, guardians, guidance counsellors and Principals about the range of ICT and FinTech learning and earning opportunities in the county with the message of ‘stay local, go global.’
In March 2018, following the launch of the report The Skills Needs of the ICT and FinTech Sectors in the North West 2018 by the North West Regional Skills Forum (NWRSF), the Donegal ICT/FinTech Working Group came together as a collaboration between industry and education and training providers in the county to promote the studying of and working in ICT and FinTech in the county.
The group, facilitated by the NWRSF, a Department of Education and Skills initiative to encourage collaboration between industry and local education and training providers, is comprised of representatives from local ICT and FinTech employers including Pramerica, SITA, Optum, Randox, ElectrRoute and ITUS Secure Technologies, along with education representatives from Donegal ETB, LYIT and the European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology (ERNACT).
They aim to work closely with post-primary school to promote a thriving sector and encourage more females into the sector under the banner of ‘One County – One Team, Team Donegal.’
Parents, guardians, Principals, Deputy Principals and Guidance Counsellors have previously heard how Donegal is unable to meet the demand for ICT and FinTech skills in the coming years and the industry needs the help of the county’s post-primary schools.
Working Group member, Pramerica Ireland’s Director of Financial Services, David Roche, opened the launch event, noting that, “Over the last four years, the growth in the ICT/FinTech sector in Donegal has been amazing. If I was to fast track the growth in the ICT/FinTech sector in Donegal between now and the next number of years, we will probably have an estimated growth of about 20% so it’s important that we explain what this ICT/FinTech sector is to the next generation of students.”
Vinnie Kennedy, Senior Development Manager, SITA and Working Group Chair stated, “Principals, Guidance Counsellors and supporting bodies are absolute key stakeholders in the initiative and the objective that we are trying to follow through within growing the ICT and FinTech sector in Donegal. The objective of the group is to promote working, studying and living in the ICT and FinTech sector in Donegal. Looking at the skills of the future and working collaboratively to identify the skills of the future. With those skills in mind, our aim is to build careers around those skills and work with our training and education providers to develop the courses and qualifications that will allow people a pathway into those careers. Our ultimate goal is stay local, go global – the opportunity for the workforce in Donegal to be able to have an international career, a global career, but reap all the benefits of living in Donegal.
What underpins all of this is collaboration. What we’ve done to date is awareness and collaboration. We’ve held a number of information events, we’ve engaged in all the post-primary schools in Donegal and we’re launching our website and promotional video today. That’s around awareness. In terms of collaboration, we’ve really improved the engagement between industry, LYIT and Donegal ETB; working together we’ve developed programmes that are looking to meet the industry needs, the needs that our businesses have today and to create placements for some of the students coming out of those courses.”
The North West Regional Skills Forum Manager Dr. Oran Doherty took attendees through the new website which showcases the diverse careers in this sector, provides testimonials from people working in the sector, provides information on ICT/FinTech companies in the county and available jobs and information on the education and training opportunities provided by Donegal ETB and LYIT.
The promotional video, aimed at 15-20 year olds, was launched by the video creators Re-act Productions and can be viewed on the news section of the website.
In lending his support to the new website and video launch, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh, T.D., said, “The question is how do we move into a more formal policy framework for this type of collaboration with school Principals and school leaders who are absolutely integral to the community approach of future education and our future country? We have to allow full participation, some sort of equal approach to ensuring that every young person gets full participation. We have to respond to and allow that creative space.”
Loreto Secondary School, Letterkenny Principal, Sister Geraldine Mullan, provided some insight from a Principals’ point of view on how the group have been working with schools, “The opportunities that are available here are absolutely phenomenal. Students are beginning to realise that you don’t have to move away. I am so conscious of everything that is being provided to us through Optum, LYIT, Pramerica, the ETB and FinTech. The world of technology for girls in the past doesn’t seem to have been as accessible. It was more considered to be for the guys. Whereas now I can see that the girls are waking up to this world of technology. It’s not that they’re not into technology but they mightn’t have the same sense of confidence as what the boys seem to have. But I’m noticing a huge move in that whole area and it is opening up a world that prior to now wasn’t available to them.”
In closing the launch event, Dr. Clare Ryan of ITUS Secure Technologies stated, “It is really important that we reach out to all of young people. We as a group are collectively investing in tomorrow’s workforce today. It is a long-term commitment that this group is making. ICT and FinTech changes so rapidly that every year there are new careers that are simply created with a new set of skills that are required and unless we can keep at the forefront of that, we won’t have the people to fill those jobs. We want our young people in Donegal to take up those roles.”
Photo credits: Clive Wasson Photography