I. Qualification and Re-qualification for ICT Jobs

I. Qualification and Re-qualification for ICT Jobs

The ICT job potential is currently under-exploited with a growing gap between the demand and supply of experts in this field. In Portugal, we expect that by 2020 there may be 15000 job vacancies in ICT - about five times more than in 2012.This becomes even more of a paradox when you realise that the Portuguese unemployment and young unemployment rates are among the highest in the EU. One can only bring supply and demand closer together if we are able to qualify individuals to work in ICT.

The strategy and action plan to promote qualifications arose from analysing and identifying constraints that affect the potential to mobilise educational and training ICT offers and trying to work with them. On the other hand, given the evolution prospects for employment requirements, and considering the recorded unemployment rates, the qualification processes must focus on the initial youth qualifications, and the re-qualification of unemployed assets - with a focus on available graduates for ICT re-qualifications as an employability factor -, which are consolidated into a Strategic Action Plan designed before 2020 and based on a lifelong learning system.

This Action Plan must include - and regularly review - initial training on different levels of complexity regarding the new skills to be developed.

The study carried out in April 2015, designated as Mapping of the Educational and Training ICTE Offer in Portugal, promoted within the scope of works installed by the Portuguese Coalition for Digital Employability and coordinated by Professor Ana Claudia Valente, shows that the rates for the supply of the ‘nuclear’ of the ICTE sector in higher education, which includes Computer Studies (NCETA 48), particularly Computer Sciences (NCETA 481), Electricity and Energy (NCETA 522) and Electronics and Automation (NCETA 523), shows that Electronics and Automation have reached 75% in the 2013/2014 school year, while Computer Sciences only reached 32.5% during the same period of time, which is one of the lowest nuclear ICTE rates being half of that registered for the entire higher education (64.4%). In addition, although there is an increase of approximately 16% in the number of ICTE graduates between 2010/11 and 2012/13 (almost double of that registered in the entire higher education), there is a decrease in the search for higher ICTE degrees (-8.8%) over 2013 and 2014, which is the overall trend for higher education.

Still talking about higher education, one should refer that the STEM areas only have approximately 30% of registered students, that is, over 100 000 students, out of which 64% do not have ICTE training; in a scenario where we should persist on the ICT skills gap, these students represent an enormous reserve of qualified resources with re-qualification potential in nuclear ICTE areas.

The supply of Foundation Degrees oriented towards the training of medium qualifications (level 5 on the National Qualifications Board) undertakes an important role in attracting more students to proceed with a higher education. The nuclear ICTE areas have a very expressive weight within the scope of the Foundation Degrees, since in 2013/14 they represented 25% of available Foundation Degrees, and 28% of the registered total (out of which 46.6% were registered in Computer Sciences). The search for Foundation Degrees in Computer Sciences has been increasing, as well as the number of graduates.

Within the scope of dual certification secondary school, there has also been an increase in the number of those registered in the area of nuclear ICTE, although the behaviour associated with the two main modalities has been quite different, since Learning Courses have registered a significant decrease in the number of students enrolled in Computer Sciences (at the expense of other technological areas with employment potential), while Professional Courses have had a very significant increase; it should also be noted that little motivation for learning Maths and Sciences, as well as the insufficient performance level of the youth in these subjects are major limits not only for the possibility to proceed with their studies (searching for higher training in ICTE) but also their own success in dual certification secondary school courses.

In this composite context, one must consider the qualifications and re-qualifications for ICT employment by answering an essential question - how to prevent a waste of employability in ICT.

Specific guidelines in terms of ICT Qualification and Re-qualification

The specific guidelines in terms of ICT qualification and re-qualification are as follows:

  • Extension of the human resource pool with the key skills for developing the supply of innovative solutions, contents, and services by companies based in Portugal;
  • Extension of the supply of basic skills for the use of ICT by the business tissue as a whole, and particularly in terms of cyberspace used for marketing, publicity, and transactions;
  • Recovery of school and professional guidance processes regarding the ICT;
  • Design and/or revision of school curriculum, particularly in terms of secondary school, and training benchmarks, as well as teaching resources;
  • Promoting education-training offers and certification within the scope of ICT;
  • Qualified trainers ensuring a stronger teaching of the IT curriculum in middle and secondary school;
  • Increasing the level of awareness and motivation of potential students/pupils for ICT education and training;
  • Ensure the existence of a curriculum and education-training benchmarks, and keep them up-to-date as a guarantee of potential employability;
  • ICT education-training offers need to be diversified and made more flexible covering different levels of qualification and comprehending young people, particularly in terms of initial qualifications and assets subjected to re-qualification;
  • Development of ICT pilot projects in order to boot motivation and improve the levels of performance within this field.

Lines of Action

These guidelines result in the following lines of action:

  • Significant increase of human resources with university degrees, master's degrees, and PhDs in Computer Sciences and Computer Engineering monitoring the development of the required skills for the sector's dynamics on an international level (refer to the Big Data and Analytic cases);
  • Launching of training initiatives in a consortium for the re-qualification of unemployed or under employed graduates (consortia involving companies with the need for qualifications, universities, and polytechnics, which together establish the curriculum and learning methods);
  • Extended supply of medium qualification levels enabling the broadcast of used ICT in the corporate tissue, including electronic trade and interactive publicity;
  • Introduction in the upper primary and lower middle education of computer programs, and specific ICTE training in the secondary school that is oriented towards higher education;
  • Teaching and broadcasting successful transformation experiences in learning methods using the ICT and vocational guidance for the youth in terms of ICT.