Major push to plug IT skills looks beyond province

Clair Gheel, right, of IT3Sixty, with Tiberiu Gociu from Romania, who works in Belfast for Allstate NI, and Marcela Moreno from Columbia, who currently works in Belfast for TotalMobile
Clair Gheel, right, of IT3Sixty, with Tiberiu Gociu from Romania, who works in Belfast for Allstate NI, and Marcela Moreno from Columbia, who currently works in Belfast for TotalMobile

IT professionals across Europe are currently being targeted to plug Northern Ireland’s immediate IT skills gap through a major new initiative launched from within the sector.

Representatives from Belfast-based IT3Sixty are this week attending recruitment fairs in Madrid, followed by planned visits to Helsinki, Krakow and Athens to engage thousands of experienced professionals.

The group, established by local tech sector employers, seeks to highlight the job opportunities here and attract workers from places like Finland, Spain, Poland, and Greece.

Firms involved in the initiative include Liberty IT, Citi, Equiniti ICS, Deloitte, Total Mobile, Iconi, Version 1, Intel and Civica.

The group will be running a major online recruitment fair as well at the beginning of 2016 involving Northern Ireland IT employers, supported by DEL and the pan-European EURES network.

A digital hub dedicated to promoting Northern Ireland and job openings here to IT professionals across Europe has also been created at www.it3sixty.com. The development of this portal was co-funded by Invest Northern Ireland through its Collaborative Network programme.

“Northern Ireland has seen a 90 percent increase in applications for IT university courses since 2009, meaning that the longer-term pipeline of skills looks quite healthy,” said Clair Gheel of IT3Sixty.

“There is also a significant amount of work ongoing to ensure skills development continues. But such has been the rate of expansion of Northern Ireland’s technology industry, there is an immediate shortage of experienced, skilled professionals that is hindering the sector. IT has the highest rate of job vacancies of all sectors in Northern Ireland and IT3Sixty is spearheading an innovative approach by the sector to provide a solution.”

Working with government, she said the immediate goal was to increase the talent pool. “Before we’ve even really begun, we already have the CVs of over 100 quality skilled professionals who are interested in relocating to Northern Ireland.”

Niall Casey, Invest NI’s Director of Skills and Strategy, said: “The development of the portal is a welcome resource which will be used to target experienced IT professionals, local students undertaking relevant courses at overseas colleges; NI Diaspora as well as EU nationals and to encourage these people to apply for jobs in Northern Ireland.”