Major Digital Skills Deficit in Growth Sectors, says Leading Educator and Entrepreneur
Improving digital skills among existing workers, as well as new graduates, will be crucial if we are to maintain Ireland’s competitive edge in a number of growth sectors. That’s according to Paul Dunne, CEO and Founder of Digital Skills Academy, an established, innovative leader in digital technology education. “Staff in a number of key sectors in this country – such as banking, finance and telecommunications – will need to upskill for the future” he says. “There is a risk that the digital technology now widely used in these industries elsewhere in the world is outpacing the existing expertise of Irish staff in corresponding sectors.”
Government and government agencies have highlighted fintech in particular as a target growth sector for the Irish economy, and while there is plenty of startup activity, those already working in the financial services sectors could contribute more to these innovations if they had greater levels of digital capability. “This is only natural,” says Dunne. “Figuring out how to get ahead without falling behind in the process is a challenge for anyone already in full-time employment.”
The importance of improving digital fluency also extends to Ireland’s aspiring workforce. The most recent GradIreland recruitment survey highlighted the importance of digital skills in determining the kinds of jobs the graduates of 2016 and beyond will be qualified for. The survey found most jobs for graduates are currently in banking, insurance and financial services.
However, the study also found that the biggest knowledge shortfall cited by employers (48.3% surveyed) when hiring graduates was insufficient IT and digital skills proficiency.
Digital Skills Academy programmes aim to address the digital skills gap seen in Ireland and internationally.
The one year, online and part-time BSc Degree programmes, accredited by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), are designed to rapidly enhance participants’ career prospects through a blend of online learning and real-world experience working on live industry-assigned projects.
Real-life digital projects, developed by participants in conjunction with Industry Partners, gives participants the kind of hands-on experience lacking in comparable training programmes in Ireland.
Participants graduate with expertise and extensive experience working in international cross functional virtual teams (Coders, Managers, Marketers, Sales professionals and Digital Designers working together) and with advanced skills in problem-solving, decision-making, and design-thinking.
Digital Skills Academy headquarters can be found in Dublin’s Digital Hub. “Our location in this thriving digital space is no coincidence,” stresses Dunne. “We chose the Digital Hub so that we would have direct and continuous contact with organisations pioneering the digital revolution currently fuelling the global economy. This gives our programme designers - and by extension our participants - access to what’s happening in the digital space in real time.”
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