ICT Skills Action Plan


IRFI - Istituto Romano per la Formazione Imprenditoriale, Camera di Commercio di Roma, Rome, ITALY



Contact details of the main implementing body

Name of the organisation, original language

Ministry for Education and Skills and Ministry for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Name of the organisation, English translation

Ministry for Education and Skills and Ministry for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation - https://www.education.ie


Name of the practice, original language

ICT Skills Action Plan



Description of the practice

The Plan has been developed as a collaboration between the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, as well as a range of State agencies, together with the higher education institutions and a range of industry stakeholders.

The ICT Action Plan is a second instance of the 1st plan released in 2012. Both plans derive from the “Ireland action plan for jobs” in the framework of reforms that the Irish Government is carrying on to face the harms of the economic crisis.

The focus of the new Plan is to build the supply of graduates and skilled professionals with core ICT and electronic/electrical engineering qualifications at honours degree level and above.

These graduation levels are, in fact, the most requested by the majority of new job openings expected to be created.

Also, activities aiming at retaining people in ICT companies are foreseen by the plan.

Policy context

Ireland was among the countries in Europe hit the hardest by the global financial crisis. By the first half of 2012, it had also suffered from the fallout from a home-grown property bubble and faced extremely high unemployment.

To address this social and economic crisis, the Irish government launched a series of annual Action Plans for Jobs (APJs), underpinned by efforts to mobilise whole-of-government support for private sector led job creation. The labour market has since stabilised, unemployment is falling, and job creation accelerated through 2013.

From peak employment of 2.16 million in Q1 2008, the Irish economy saw the loss of more than 320.000 jobs – or 15.1% – by the time the labour market bottomed out in Q2 2012. This left only 1.83 million people employed.

Nearly 60.000 jobs were created in the year to end-Q4 2013. The pace of job creation accelerated over this period, leaving 1.9 million employed by this time.

Similarly, from its Q4 2007 peak of 64.1%, the labour participation rate had fallen sharply to 59.8% by Q2 2012, before recovering marginally to 60.4% by Q4 2013. Net emigration in the years to end-April 2012 and end-April 2013 was 34.400 and 33.100 respectively. As a result, the unemployment rate climbed dramatically over this period from 4.5% in Q1 2007 to peak at 15.1% in Q1 2012. It then began a slow but steady decline to 12.1% by Q4 20131.

The latest standardised unemployment rate, calculated on the basis of benefit claimants, stood at 11.8% in March 20142. This indicates the scale of the challenge still lying ahead, despite steady progress.

Labour market context

The ICT sector is of vital strategic importance to Ireland, both in terms of the numbers of high skilled professionals employed and its significant contribution to export performance, accounting for €70 billion per annum. ICT is also widely used across other sectors of the economy. Around 60% of ICT professionals are employed in the broad ICT sector, while 40% are employed across other sectors of the economy.

The skills demand for ICT talent is a global one. By 2015, it is estimated that there will be a shortage of up to 864,000 ICT professionals across the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA). Ireland is likely to face an average increase in demand for high-level ICT skills of around 5% a year out to 2018 with the employment of ICT professionals anticipated to rise to just over 91,000.


The ICT Action Plan aims at making Ireland a global leader for ICT talent and skills. The overarching target is to meet 74% of forecast industry demand for high-level ICT skills from the education system by 2018, up from the current level, estimated at over 60%. In line with industry norms, it is envisaged that remaining demand will be met by continuing to attract highly skilled people from abroad. The continued upskilling and development of existing employees in the sector by industry will also make a vital contribution to achieving the Plan goals.

The Plan will focus on three strategic priorities:

  • Increase output of high-level graduates
  • Enhance ICT capacity and awareness in the education system


Ensure Ireland maintains a strong ICT talent pool and promote Ireland as a centre for high-level ICT Skills

Management and operation

Overall implementation of the Plan will be driven by a High Level Steering Group under the auspices of the two Ministries.

Three cross-sectoral delivery teams will develop and implement work programmes covering the actions in each of the strategic priority areas.

A vital feature in the approach to implementation will be the continued central engagement of industry as a key partner in the process.

The delivery teams and High Level Steering Group will have appropriate regard to the work of other groups, including the recommendations of the STEM Education Review Group.

The High Level Steering Group will review the effectiveness of the implementation structures after 18 months.

The “Forfàs”, the Irish policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation, working as a support board for SMEs, was also committed to the Plan before being integrated in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Target groups/beneficiaries

Students, Employees, SMEs

Start date

01 Jan 2014

End date (actual or planned)

31 Dec 2018

Gender dimension

No gender dimension is specifically addressed by the Plan.

Products involved in or resulting from the practice


Outcomes of the practice (planned/expected and actual)

  • Many outcomes are expected from the practice, among which:
  • Increase retention of ICT students
  • Launch conversion/upskilling programmes
  • Deliver a wide range of ICT technical and management programmes to increase the number of ICT skilled professionals to industry
  • Increase efficiency of the Employment permits system to facilitate access to high level ICT skills from overseas


Another important expected outcome that can meet Project NeMESI objectives is related to the organization of annual advanced ICT talent management and retention seminars to share best practice among companies in upskilling and HR Talent management.

Source of funding

National budget (tax revenue)

Main responsible body, type

Ministry or other national public body/authority. Please specify

Ministry for Education and Skills and Ministry for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Role of implementing body

Management and monitoring

Other bodies involved in implementation of the practice as partners or contractors

The overall Irish education system plays a critical role in delivering skilled graduates and promoting interest in ICT

Government agencies and State-supported bodies are involved in the development and implementation of the Action Plan.

Evaluation - Was the practice evaluated?



Target group(s)

Employers, People seeking training


All employers


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People seeking training

Employees, Out or work - youth

B.2 Type of practice

B.2.1 Practices related to management or servicing of clients

Registration, skill assessments, identification of client needs and matching

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B.2.2 Practices related to labour market information and improvement of micro and smes’ procedures

Labour market information (LMI)

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Micro and SMEs’ procedures

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B.2.3 Practices related to skill mismatch reduction

Supports aimed at reducing skill mismatch (targeted to unemployed or employed)

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Supports aimed at reducing skill mismatch: labour mobility

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Sharing the cost of training and skills development

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B.3 Delivery method(s)

Delivery methods involved

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B.4 Contracting out

Extent of contracting out of practice: The service is contracted out…

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Type of subcontractor(s)

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B.5 Partnership

Type of partners involved in implementation of the practice

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SECTION C - Information about evaluation of the practice

When was the practice evaluated?

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Type of organisation carrying out the evaluation

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Details of the organisation responsible for carrying out the evaluation

Name of the organisation, original language/Name of the evaluator

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Name of the organisation, English translation

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E mail

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Web page

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Overall evaluation methodology/methodology

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Indicators in the evaluation

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Main findings of the evaluation

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Change in practice following evaluation

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C.1 Documentation of the evaluation

Type of documentation

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Monitoring evidence

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D.1 - Evidence of results

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D.2 - Relevance

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D.3 - Availability of clear and adequate information

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D.4 - Impact

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D.5 - Innovation

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D.6 - Broad-based participation

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D.7 - Sustainability

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D.8 - Mainstreaming

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D.9 - European Added Value and Transferability

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D.10 - Additional comments

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