Datapac announced yesterday that 150 students have now participated in its work placement programme since it launched in 2004, and that it is launching a new initiative for transition year students. Datapac is also calling for greater collaboration between the Irish education sector and the technology industry to help close the growing IT skills gap.
Datapac first launched its work placement programme in 2004 and has invested €1.5 million in supporting the initiative to date. During this time, it has established strong links with a number of leading third level institutions around the country, including Waterford IT, IT Carlow, IT Tallaght, University of Limerick and NUIG. The programme is open to both graduate and undergraduate students, and offers continuous on-the-job development as well as the opportunity to work with the latest technologies and applications.
The 150th student to be recruited as part of Datapac’s programme is Eric Maloney, who is studying for a BSc in Information Technology Management at IT Carlow. Commenting on his role at Datapac, Eric said: “The practical work experience that I have received at Datapac has been really invaluable and rewarding. It’s given me a much deeper understanding of what it’s like to work in this fast-paced industry, and learn about real-world situations and customer interactions. It’s given me a much clearer vision of the career I want to pursue.”
Launching the work placement programme into secondary schools is the next step in Datapac’s strategic approach to IT skills development, and part of a long-standing CSR programme that seeks to alleviate youth unemployment in its local communities. It is initially being rolled out to schools close to Datapac’s main offices in Dublin and Enniscorthy. Students will be placed on one of two specialist paths that the company has developed, providing practical, hands-on experience of both the technical and business aspects of the industry. Mentors will be assigned to every student to provide ongoing training and development.
Professionals from Datapac will also visit transition year classes in participating schools to provide practical advice about building a career in the technology sector.
Karen O’Connor, general manager service delivery, Datapac, said: “Datapac has long been dedicated to closing the IT skills gap and addressing youth unemployment in Ireland. We believe it’s vital that young people are encouraged towards STEM careers, which can offer so many exciting opportunities and rewards for people from all backgrounds. Encouraging students to consider working in the tech sector was one of the primary reasons for launching our work placement initiative which we continue to invest significantly in.
“We’re very excited to extend this programme to transition year students as we look to make an impact at second level too. Our aim is to provide students with a positive experience and hopefully inspire them to consider STEM subjects for the Leaving Cert, as well as further studies and potentially a career in this sector.
We believe that greater collaboration and engagement needs to happen between schools, universities and the technology industry so that young people in Ireland have the opportunity to learn a wider range of relevant skills before joining the workplace. We also welcome other initiatives that will help to widen the available skilled pool for the growing tech sector. It’s in all of our interests to ensure Ireland remains competitive and becomes a true digital leader. “