IET: New qualification will boost skills in Northern Ireland

A leading UK expert on information and communications technology (ICT) says today that a proposed new qualification will help equip Northern Ireland’s future workforce with vital computer programming skills.

Dr Mike Short CBE, President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) says a proposed new AS and A Level course in Software and Systems Development will give Northern Ireland’s economy a boost by providing much needed skills.

He said: “It is more important than ever that the worlds of education and industry work together to ensure that we have the engineers and technicians of the future.  Our current generation, often referred to as the ‘Net Generation’, are heavy users of ICT in their social interaction, yet very few have been taught how to understand, design and build upon the technology that underpins most of our daily lives.
“This proposed new qualification in Software and Systems Development has been developed to meet the needs of local industry.  If approved, it will give Northern Ireland a boost in developing a skilled workforce which will enable us to compete effectively on the global stage.”

Professor Jonathan Wallace, Chairman of the Engineering Policy Group Northern Ireland, said: “A lack of ICT focus in the curriculum has resulted in generations of students who, though avid users of technology, have absolutely no insight into how modern ICT systems work.”

The IET, Europe’s largest body for the engineering and technology community, provided input into the Northern Ireland’s Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment proposals for the new qualification.

If the proposals are approved by Northern Ireland’s Department of Education, the new qualification will be available in schools from September 2013.


Notes to editors:
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