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Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor Launches National Digital Skills & Jobs Coalition

Coalition aims to tackle Digital Skills Gap

Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., today officially launched Ireland’s National Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition. The initiative forms part of the Skills Agenda for Europe which is being promoted across all EU Member States by the European Commission. It will be co-ordinated in Ireland by the Irish Computer Society Foundation, working with the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS). 

The establishment of a national coalition in Ireland will result in actions supporting the ICT Skills Action Plan developed by the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and employer representative groups, and will also support the Digital Strategy for Schools. The Coalition will provide a mechanism to co-ordinate outcomes from existing projects and communicate results at a national and European level.  It will bring a wide range of companies, organisations, agencies and representative bodies together to promote the digital skills and jobs agenda in Ireland. www.digitalcoalition.ie.

The digital economy is growing at an unprecedented level but work must continue to boost the talent pipeline so that Ireland can capitalise on opportunities. Digital skills are at the heart of the new Skills Agenda for Europe that the European Commission published in June. The Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition brings together Member States, companies, social partners, non-profit organisations and education providers who take action to tackle the lack of digital skills in Europe.

Today’s launch coincides with Tech Week, the national festival of technology aimed at students, parents and the public, taking place all over Ireland www.techweek.ie 

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said:

“It’s one thing to have modern technology and modern communications. But it’s quite another to develop the right skills to use digital technologies and then apply them in a working environment. Not before time, digital skills are now recognised as fundamentally essential skills, along with literacy and numeracy. They are also the basis for a functioning digital society and Digital Single Market.  Digital advances are changing the structure and nature of employment as we know it today. The National Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition will support Ireland’s continuing economic progress and competitiveness.”

Jim Friars, CEO of the Irish Computer Society said: 

“There are many young people who use the internet and digital devices on an almost constant basis - but don’t have the full skills needed to convert this interest into an actual job. We all know that this is not only about filling existing jobs. It’s also about making sure Europe and Ireland have enough digitally skilled workers to fill the many new jobs that the Digital Single Market will create. 

“No other investment will bring a higher return for society. But we can’t do this alone. No single public authority, business, trade union or education provider can achieve the necessary modernisation by itself. What we need now is a broader, more inclusive and pan-European effort. That is what the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition is all about. This launch builds on existing work to develop and expand a large pool of digital talent in Europe, particularly the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs.” 

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