As technology continues to advance at an exponential rate, the global Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector stands as the fastest-growing industry in the world. The pervasiveness of ICT not only makes it a stand-alone sector but also an indispensable transversal element in every other field. However, this remarkable growth comes with a pressing concern – the widening ICT skills gap. The ever-increasing demand for diverse IT skills outpaces the supply of adequately trained professionals.
To gain a deeper understanding of this issue, the analysis focused on the human resource potential and needs in the Montenegrin ICT sector. The findings shed light on the education and training offered in the sector and how we can facilitate and encourage access to this sector for vulnerable population groups. The research revealed a stark reality: there is a substantial gap between the supply and demand of skills in the ICT sector in Montenegro. Even more concerning is the fact that there are no targeted initiatives in place to address the needs of vulnerable groups, such as individuals with disabilities.
This situation highlights the urgent need for tailored training programs that can bridge the skills gap and provide opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds. Moreover, flexible working arrangements should be implemented to accommodate the needs of different populations. By improving cooperation between the private sector and educational institutions, we can enhance the quality of the workforce in the ICT sector and promote the inclusion of vulnerable groups.
Key Considerations to Bridge the Skills Gap in Montenegro’s ICT Sector
To create a skilled and diverse ICT workforce for the future, it requires a collaborative effort between ICT companies and the education sector. Here are the main conclusions and recommendations derived from the analysis:
Foster Cooperation: Encourage ICT companies and educational institutions to collaborate closely, facilitating the exchange of learning formats and resources.
Licensing of Training Providers: Empower further licensing of training providers to enhance the availability of licensed IT training opportunities.
Involvement in Primary and Secondary Education: Increase the involvement of ICT companies in primary and secondary education to support practical classes and uplift the IT skills of teachers.
Mandatory Coding/Programming: Make coding and programming an obligatory subject in primary education to introduce students to these essential skills at an early age.
Emphasize Soft Skills Development: Incorporate soft skills development into all education and training processes to ensure well-rounded professionals.
Support for Vulnerable Groups: Implement specific measures and quotas to support vulnerable groups in IT training and employment, fostering inclusivity.
Enrolment of Students with Disabilities: Introduce affirmative policies to enrol students with disabilities in tertiary education, providing equal opportunities.
Engage Ukrainian IT Companies: Emphasize the involvement of Ukrainian IT companies in the ICT community to facilitate the exchange of ICT skills.
Tailored Training Programs: Offer training programs that address the skills required by the job market, strengthening collaboration between education and the private sector.
Incentives for a Better Working Environment: Provide incentives for both vulnerable groups and companies to create a more inclusive and supportive working environment.
Early Development of ICT Skills: Encourage the development of ICT skills from an early age through primary and secondary education, focusing on soft skill development through project work.
Internships and Apprenticeships: Facilitate more internships and apprenticeships to provide practical experience and bridge the gap between education and employment.
Promoting Diversity: Promote diversity in the ICT workforce to bring in a wider range of skills and perspectives, fostering innovation.
By implementing these comprehensive strategies, the ICT sector in Montenegro can be strengthened, bridging the skills gap, and ensuring a highly skilled, diverse, and inclusive workforce that will thrive in the dynamic technological landscape of the future.
RECONOMY is an inclusive and green economic development program of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation in partnership with Help—Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe and others in the Eastern Partnership and the Western Balkan countries.