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February 2004 - New study confirms 'Very significant' impact of ECDL in Ireland

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Ms Mary Hanafin TD, Government Chief Whip and Minster of State at the Department of the Taoiseach today launched a major new study into the impact of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) in Ireland. The independent report was commissioned by the European Computer Driving Licence Foundation Ltd. (ECDL-F) and carried out by Dr Susan O’Donnell of Itech Research.

It is the most comprehensive study to date on the impact of the ECDL programme in a national market. The report confirms that since its launch in 1997 the ECDL has generated cumulative benefits to the Irish economy in the order of €362 million. The ECDL-F was set up just over six years ago with two employees and a small grant from the Irish government. Today its core certification, the ECDL, generates direct and indirect benefits conservatively valued at over €121 million annually to the Irish economy.

The report finds that the ECDL has been hugely successful in economic terms, having generated significant levels of employment, with more than 4,400 people in Ireland currently employed wholly or partly in relation to the provision of the ECDL programme. The report further determines that the ECDL generates annual productivity savings of €62.3 million to Irish employers. The report credits the ECDL as being a seminal influence in the building of the IT certification industry and developing the IT training & testing services sector as well as the IT training products sector. Contd./. Contd./..2 And the overall impact of the ECDL in Ireland has not just been economic.
The study concludes that the ECDL has led to a considerable increase in IT skills across the board and made a significant contribution to Irish policy goals in relation to economic and social development in the Information Society.

To date over 250,000 people in Ireland alone (or 6% of the total population) have embarked on ECDL certification and the numbers grow daily. The study also finds that Irish business has embraced the ECDL. Not only have 92,000 adults in employment embarked on ECDL certification but more than 100 Irish businesses and large corporations have become accredited ECDL Test Centres. The ECDL is, of course, not just an Irish success story.

The programme is available in 135 countries around the world and has been translated into 32 languages. With over 3.75 million people around the world participating in the programme, the ECDL is internationally recognised as the global benchmark for end-user computer skills and is the leading certification to be adopted by governments, international organisations and corporations alike.

Speaking at the launch today David Carpenter, CEO of the European Computer Driving Licence Foundation Ltd. (ECDL-F) said, “The ECDL was created as a result of the vision of CEPIS (Council Of European Informatics Societies) and its members, the European Computer Societies. That early vision was turned into a reality by the work and dedication of the global partnership between the ECDL-F and its National Operators worldwide, in conjunction with many thousands of training and testing service providers. The hugely successful implementation of that early vision has seen the ECDL become the worldwide standard in end-user computer skills certification, as confirmed by the findings of this impact study. The vision and energy that created the ECDL continue to be applied to our ongoing work, as evidenced by the range and diversity of recent product releases, such as equalskills and e-Citizen. This is consistent with the ECDL-F key mission of facilitating access for all to the Information Society.”

Chairman of ECDL-F and CEO of ICS Skills, Jim Friars added, “As the Irish National Operator for ECDL, we take pride in the enormous progress that we have made in establishing the ECDL in Ireland. In the six years since its introduction in Ireland, we have seen over 250,000 Candidates (out of an overall population of just under 4 million) participate in the ECDL, firmly establishing the ECDL as the leading end-user computer skills certification in Ireland. The results of this impact study highlight the effectiveness of the ECDL programme in assisting the government to meet major economic and social objectives through upskilling the workforce and bridging the digital divide.”

The launch of the research report took place at the official opening of the new ECDL-F global headquarters in Dublin today.

For more information please contact:
Marketing department of the ECDL Foundation
T: +353 1 630 6000