Belfast Telegraph

IT sector 'struggling' to get top talent, warns firm

By John Mulgrew

A Belfast IT firm which hopes to add 165 new staff in two years says the sector is "struggling to sustain demands for talent" here.

Paddy O'Hagan, chief operating officer at Neueda, was speaking as the firm hired 16 graduates which went through its 'tech academy' at Belfast Met.

The company makes a range of software products for clients, including government and utilities.

"The IT sector in Northern Ireland is struggling to sustain demands for talent from ongoing organic growth and foreign direct investment," Mr O'Hagan said.

"It is therefore essential that we futureproof its economic value through broadening and nurturing the talent pool and we believe that means engaging with the current and future generation on a 'full circle' basis, from primary school level up."

Last year the firm opened a new office in Spain to help it retain talent following Brexit.

The firm has experienced growth in annual turnover of around 30% in recent years, and founder Brendan Monaghan said it expected to achieve sales of £21m.

Speaking about helping to expand and grow the talent pool for IT staff in Northern Ireland, Paddy O'Hagan believes there is significant work to be done at primary school level.

"It is important to capture the imagination and interest of young people at an early stage when it comes to IT and all that it has to offer.

"It is second nature for young people to think digitally these days, however the older generation perhaps isn't embracing and encouraging that enough.

The firm works with primary schools in Belfast to deliver a 'code club' programme, which introduces children to basic programming concepts and delivers sessions in languages used in Neueda, such as JavaScript, Python and Labview.

It also engages with secondary schools and higher education colleges.

Belfast Telegraph

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