The Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform, Pascal Donohoe, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, and the Minister of State for Public Procurement, eGovernment, Communications and the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth, have congratulated the 2023 intake to the Civil Service ICT Apprenticeship Programme at Liberties College saying they are a critical part of the ambitious targets the government has set with regard to apprenticeship registrations for the future.
Ministers Harris and Smyth met with the two Software Apprentice class groups and their tutors at Liberties College along with the team from the Office of the Government CIO (OGCIO) who lead the ICT apprenticeships programme for the Civil Service. Also present were representatives from Fastrack into IT (FIT), the national coordinator for the ICT Apprenticeships ICT and the training partner, City of Dublin ETB.
101 ICT Apprentices have been recruited into 22 organisations across the Civil Service. This is a two-year programme during which apprentices will earn-as-they-learn with a blend of on and off-the-job training. The apprenticeships started in early March and, having spent an initial number of weeks in their workplace, are now in college on their first off-the-job training block.
The 2023 intake follows the success of the 2019-2021 pilot albeit on a much larger scale. These roles offer exciting opportunities for the apprentices to start their careers in ICT/digital in the Civil Service and have an opportunity to play a significant role in delivering on the government’s ambitions for Ireland to be a digital leader.
Minister Donohoe hailed the commencement of the programme commenting, “this initiative is a good example of the Civil Service taking an innovative approach to recruiting ICT talent. Digital transformation is a critically important part of our plans for transforming the public service and delivering better services for our country. To achieve this we need to have the right people with the right skills in place. These ICT apprentices have an exciting future ahead. It is a hugely important and exciting opportunity for them and for their Civil Service employers and I wish them every success on their programme.”
Minister Harris added, “the government launched a pilot of this programme three years ago with 34 initial apprentices. Today sees the mainstreaming of this initiative, with a two-thirds increase to 101 apprentices on this two-year programme. The 101 successful apprentice candidates have been placed with one of 22 participating government organisations to undertake the two-year full-time ICT Apprenticeship programme in software development, computer networking or cyber-security. Recruiting ICT apprentices is one of a number of initiatives to strengthen and build digital and ICT skills in the civil and public service. But it is also a key recommendation of the Public Service Apprenticeship Recruitment Plan. We have set ourselves an ambitious target of 750 annual apprenticeship registrations across the public service by 2025. This programme is a critical part of that.”
Minister of State Smyth stated, “the ICT apprenticeships are an important addition to the talent pool for the government’s ICT and digital services. As we said in our Public Service ICT and Digital Strategy, we are fully aware of the critical importance of having the right talent with the right skills on our ICT and digital teams and these apprentices have the chance to contribute to digital projects of national importance as part of these teams. I am particularly pleased to see that the Civil Service has also recruited a class of cyber apprentices who will have an important role in the future helping to keep our systems and data safe.”
Recruiting ICT apprentices is one of a number of initiatives to strengthen and build digital and ICT skills in the civil and public service, in line with Connecting Government 2030: A Digital and ICT Strategy for Ireland’s Public Service. Run in conjunction with FIT, the national coordinating provider for ICT Apprenticeships, and City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB), the Civil Service ICT apprenticeship is a two-year full-time programme, which offers participants an exciting opportunity to start their digital and ICT career in the Civil Service.
Peter Davitt, CEO of FIT said, “as the Coordinating Provider for Tech Apprenticeships, FIT is delighted to once again be part of the Civil Service IT Apprenticeship journey. This programme offers the first step on these apprentices’ ICT careers, whether they are interested in working in software development, network engineering or cyber security.”
The Government CIO, Barry Lowry, said, “it’s great to see the scale of this year’s intake following the success of the pilot. And to see the talented cohort of ICT apprentices we now have in place. The apprenticeship programme is an innovative approach to broadening the talent pipeline to meet the long term digital and ICT staffing needs of the Civil Service. It also offers the apprentices themselves the opportunity to commence their career in ICT in the Civil Service and to get involved in projects that can make a real difference to real peoples’ lives.”