Two new ICT apprenticeship programmes have been launched this week by Fast Track into Information Technology Limited (FIT Ltd), namely an ICT Associate Professional Software Developer course and an ICT Associate Professional Network Engineer course.
The scheme has been launched with the support of Accenture, Solas, the Education and Training Boards, the Apprenticeship Council and Irish Government CIO Barry Lowry.
The two schemes will fall under the Level 6 category on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and they collectively have a target of 1,000 participants a year by 2021.
With this initiative, FIT Ltd is attempting to champion the idea of ‘hire education’.
The apprenticeships are open to individuals of Leaving Cert standard or equivalent, and will be characterised by a greater emphasis on a ‘learning by doing’ format of ICT skills development.
The first six months of the programme will consist of intensive college-based learning where apprentices will be equipped with the necessary technical skills. The remaining 18 months are a combination of on-the-job experience with participating countries, supplemented with college-based instruction.
Participating companies pay candidates throughout the apprenticeship and facilitate on-the-job learning. This will enable trainees to generate added value through honing their knowledge, skills and competencies in real time while contributing to product development, technological advancement and talent development.
The two-year paid programmes, based on a dual-education model similar to extremely popular versions in Germany, Iceland and Switzerland, integrate college-based learning with on-the-job application in companies such as Accenture, culminating in the attainment of the ICT Associate Professional Apprenticeship award.
All training costs of the apprentices will be covered by the State through the National Training Fund.
Lowry said at the announcement: “The gap between the industry demand for digital and ICT talent, and the supply of people qualifying with relevant skills, continues to grow.
“These apprenticeships are an exciting and innovative response. They not only create a new source of skills supply to both public and private sector, they bring opportunities for people to enter or retrain into one of the most exciting and well-rewarded career paths available.”
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