Poorly trained graduates are 'unemployable'
IRELAND'S marketing colleges are failing the country's thriving tech sector by turning out "unemployable" graduates who have learned "the history of the television" rather than the very basics in IT marketing skills, a leading tech-sector businessman has claimed.
Ian Dodson, who runs the Digital Marketing Institute, set up by the Irish digital industry itself to remedy the education problem, says almost none of Ireland's dozen-plus colleges that offer marketing qualifications carries a relevant digital marketing content. This is despite the fact that the internet has been with us for more than 15 years.
"The industry and the students are being done a major disservice by being taught by people who have never worked in the digital industry. When they emerge after four years in college, companies in our industry have to send them off on courses on how to use basics like Microsoft Power Point and Office -- before they even approach becoming employable. We are being sent babies who need to be taught how to walk.
"Take Paypal, which has been looking to fill 1,000 jobs. They will be lucky if they get 500 Irish people who are qualified enough in language skills. At the moment, there are almost no regular marketing jobs out there yet on our website but Irish digital companies are advertising, looking for 200 people in Dublin alone at the moment.
"We need people who know about analytics, LinkedIn, Facebook and so on, not people who can tell us how the telephone developed through the ages. Colleges are doing their graduates and the industry a major disservice.
"We are being fed this rubbish that it takes years to change a college course curriculum. No it doesn't. Just add relevant modules and we will have graduates ready to take up jobs when they leave college."
He added that there is a whole new gamut of job types such as SEO manager (search engine optimisation) and analytics manager that didn't exist five years ago.
The Digital Marketing Institute was set up three years ago to train candidates, using teachers who are working in the industry.
It was established as a direct reaction to the shortage of qualified Irish candidates.
"When we look back 10 years ago we see that foreign direct investment companies came to Ireland because we were turning out qualified graduates who suited their industries, now we are not. It's that simple. In fact western Europe is asleep at the wheel at the moment when it comes to relevant digital education," said Mr Dodson.