Ireland: How one of many Companies Benefits from the Irish Government’s Belief in the ECDL Programme
Even in the midst of our recent deep recession, the Irish Government continued to fund ECDL training for employees in Irish companies. This funded training was administered through an organisation called ‘Skillnets Ltd’. Skillnets is a state funded, enterprise led body established in 1999 and funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills (DES). Since 1999, Skillnets has funded over 400 networks and almost 70,000 enterprises to train over 300,000 employees.
How it Works
On receipt of Government funding, Skillnets Ltd, funds training Networks1 that provide subsidised training to companies and employees, and free training to some job-seekers, through a number of key programmes, including ECDL. In 2014 funding of €15,690,000 was made available to 60 Networks.
Electronic Arts Ireland, the Irish wing of the global company of the same name, applied to their local Skillnet, ‘Galway Executive Skillnet’, to get funding for a number of their staff to do ECDL. Many of the 60 Skillnet Networks have ECDL listed as a training programme option for their members. This would come about as a result of analysing the training and development needs of member companies and potential trainees within the Network. ECDL almost always emerges as the number one end-user course preferred by Skillnet members. On demand from its members, the Skillnet will organise an ECDL course and open it up to the employees of all the member companies. This promotes collaboration and co-operative ECDL training activity that may not be possible for a stand-alone company, especially in the small to medium enterprise sector.
In the case of Electronic Arts Galway, as with other large companies, they have more than enough staff (several hundred) to host their own, in-house, funded ECDL programme. They became an ECDL accredited centre in their own right. This allows them to invigilate in-house ECDL testing. It has to be said that having the option of a fully automated testing system and eLearning facility was vital to them considering ECDL for their staff.
Electronic Arts is a US-owned multinational games company. The Galway wing provides multilingual international support for EA’s online game titles, such as FIFA and Medal of Honour. EA Galway introduced ECDL to their workforce because they found, that even though many of them were very knowledgeable technically, they did not have the skills to make their way around, for example, a spreadsheet or a database.
Many of EA Galway’s staff are European and the fact that the certificate will be recognised in their home countries really encourages them to avail of the opportunity to do ECDL. For the company, they believe that it is very important that their staff have “transferrable skills” and they feel ECDL definitely meets this criterion.
What also appealed to EA Galway was the breadth of modules now available with New ECDL and how this would appeal to their international workforce. They believe ECDL is the only programme of its type with this choice of topics and they hope to encourage many more of their staff to avail of it.
The funding they received from the Galway Executive Skillnet helped them make the decision to offer ECDL to their staff, but it is felt that now that they have seen the benefits of ECDL, they will continue to offer it whether there is funding available or not.
As a result of the success of the project, Electronic Arts plan to introduce ICDL to their colleagues in America.