Dáil Éireann - Volume 609 - 08 November, 2005
Written Answers. - Science and Technology.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
 725. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science if adequate provision is being made in terms of meeting the educational requirements in the areas of science and technology, with particular reference to the current and likely needs of industry in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33257/05]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: Science and technology has a key role to play in supporting continued economic progress and development. Ireland is fortunate in the high number of students who have studied science and technology. OECD data for 2003 reveals that Ireland ranks fifth of 31 countries in the number of science graduates per 100,000 employed in the 25 to 34 age group. The downturn experienced in Ireland in the ICT sector, which was part of a worldwide recession, led to a significant decline in applications from students wishing to pursue studies in information technology. In the context of the Government’s continuing policy to address future skills needs, the HEA has sought to assist higher education institutions to develop new courses to better meet the needs of both new students and existing employees in the ICT industry who wish to upskill.
The ICT Ireland undergraduate internship programme is a major initiative launched by the HEA and ICT Ireland, the IBEC body representing the high-tech sector. This is an ICT industry-wide programme which will involve a two-day week placement for undergraduates in third and fourth year of specified ICT degree courses. This initiative is a prime opportunity for industry and the education sector to work together to provide high quality graduates.
Coupled with these initiatives, third level institutions engage with industry representatives at national and regional levels to ensure that short-term and long-term skills needs in science and technology are identified and addressed. The discover science and engineering programme supported by my Department is carrying out important work in raising the profile of science and engineering careers and pointing out the opportunities available to prospective students.
My Department continues to work closely with the expert group on future skills needs on developing national strategies to address the issue of skills needs, manpower estimating and training for enterprise. The group comprises a range of public and private sector enterprise interests, development agency and educational representatives.
Dáil Éireann 609 Written Answers. Science and Technology.