GAA behind new online computers course to help stem tide of emigration
The GAA has given its backing to a new college course aimed at retraining young members in a bid to stem the tide of emigration.
Many rural clubs throughout Ireland have suffered as dozens of young members moved abroad in the search for work.
Now IT Sligo have joined forces with regional companies to help fast-track young players across all codes of the association into a successful work career in Ireland.
IT Sligo's Higher Diploma in Science in Computing is aimed at retraining graduates in a non-computer related discipline, and giving them the skills they need to pursue a career in an IT-related field.
The course is free for all successful applicants under the Government-funded Springboard initiative, and is open to any student who holds a primary degree.
IT Sligo has been leading the way in online courses for more than a decade, so successful applicants won't incur travel or accommodation costs.
The college says it has sought to develop this partnership with the GAA community, in particular, as it has lost many of its younger members in recent years to emigration. The initiative has the backing of seven GAA county boards in the region including Cavan, Donegal, Mayo, Leitrim, Longford, Roscommon and Sligo.
"At a time when the GAA is losing so many of its younger members to emigration, as they go in search of employment elsewhere, the association is proud to support this online learning initiative," said Roscommon GAA chairman Micheal Fahey.
"It provides members of our community with a new career opportunity and - crucially - helps increase the likelihood that they will stay at home."
The initiative is part of a nationwide policy and is a direct response to the current skills needs of the technology sector.
"Between now and 2018, the projected shortfall of computer graduates in Ireland is 45,000," explained programme co-ordinator Diane O'Brien.
"IT Sligo is providing this programme to offer young graduates a clear pathway towards a sustainable career and one that will keep them in Ireland and of course in communities where the GAA plays such a vital role in life."
The Higher Diploma in Science in Computing is a full-time course. The lectures and labs are delivered online.
"A key component of this course will be a work placement with prominent regional businesses which will have a minimum duration of three months," Ms O'Brien added.
The closing date for applications is August 29.