This report looks at general developments in the digital content industry in Ireland and both education and training provision for the section before it moves on to examine games, e-learning and wireless and mobile communications. This is a follow up report to the Price Waterhouse Coopers report of 2002 and was conducted on behalf of the Expert Group on Future Skills.

The overall general finding is that the availability of staff for the digital content industry is not of ‘major concern’ although there are some areas where ‘skill gaps’ occur.

There are over 200 courses in universities and ITs who produce graduates suitable for the digital content industry, over half of which are degrees. The report does note however that there is a need for a mixture of technical, creative and business skills and that many companies which are set up by technical or creative experts often lack business and management skills. The implication is that university and IT courses need to pay attention to this mixture of skills too.

Games are again seen as a key ‘growth area’ for Ireland although mobile is seen as the key growth area. It mentions the launch of and the establishment of an Irish chapter of the IGDA and Awakenings as key events but notes that project management skills are lacking.

The report recommends that universities rebrand some of their computer courses as games courses, that new courses need to include soft skills (e.g. business, teamworking, project management, communication) and that short courses in Maya be made available. In the short to medium term mobile games programming skills will also be required including newer versions of Java. The report also recommends that the Digital Hub and IGDA Ireland act as intermediaries between companies and training establishments to ensure that ongoing training needs are met.

This report was scheduled to be published over a year ago. As a result some of its recommendations have been overtaken by curricular developments, particularly in the ITs. At the same time the recommendations with regard to continuous training provision are welcome and the section on the games industry draws upon policy recommendations originally gathered by through the forums and submitted to Forfas.

Of course I may be biased because I conducted the interviews on which the games section draws and the data on the Irish games industry draws upon my own research. It will be interesting to see what others think.

Copies of the report can be obtained from the:

Skills and Labour Market Research Unit,
Planning and Research Dept.,
25 Clyde Road,
Dublin 4.
tel: 00353.1.607.7435