Exploring the Future of Cyprus's ICT Sector: A Focus on Training and Talent
A pivotal study has been carried out in July 2023, to identify the evolving training and educational requirements within the dynamic realm of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). This initiative primarily serves to guide the Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA) in its strategic planning. The study also took a close look at the hiring needs within the industry.
A comprehensive questionnaire was crafted and shared with key figures in the ICT sector, including members of the Cyprus Information Technology Enterprises Association (CITEA), to delve deeper into the insights gathered from the quantitative research.
The research involved categorizing 12 distinct role families based on their responsibilities, areas of expertise, and associated technologies. It further dissected the essential skills, competencies, and knowledge integral to these roles.
Looking ahead, the next five years are set to witness a reshuffling of role priorities, driven by technological advancements. A heightened demand is anticipated for roles in Data and Information & Cyber Security, a finding that notably diverges from the broader trends indicated by the survey and interviews. This period is also expected to see a surge in the need for specific technical proficiencies, including:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Agile Development
- Data Analytics
Moreover, the ability to work as a team and collaborate effectively is emerging as a critical interpersonal and social skill, particularly within larger organizations that employ more than 150 individuals.
Training programs for the unemployed
The Human Resource Development Authority (HEDA), offers the opportunity to unemployed citizens to participate in training programs, free of charge.
The main purpose of the training programs for the unemployed is to provide initial and/or continuing training to the unemployed, with the aim of substantially improving their knowledge and skills for productive integration or their reintegration into employment and to enable them to be employed in occupations in which there is a demand for qualified workforce.
The Basic Benefits of the plan are defined below:
- The programs are organized in collaboration with Vocational Training Centers (VET)
- Unemployed people who are registered in the Public Employment Service (PSE), legally reside in Cyprus, and have the right to access the labor market without restrictions, may participate in the Scheme.
- The Plan aims to provide training opportunities to the unemployed to acquire, enrich and/or upgrade their knowledge and skills, according to the needs observed in the labor market, to broaden the prospects for integration/reintegration and their better integration into employment, as well as to satisfy their expectations for a new professional career.
- The programs are sponsored by the National Human Rights Council through the Plan and cover a wide range of subjects in various professions/specialties, in all functions of businesses/organizations.
- Companies/organizations are also involved in the Plan to provide work experience and practical training to the trainees in programs where there is also an intra-company part to enable the transfer of theory into practice through real working conditions.
- All costs of the programs are covered. A training allowance is also paid to the trainees on a monthly basis.
Specialized Human Resources Studies
The researches and studies of the HRDA on Human Resources are divided into seven categories as presented below:
- Human Resources and Labor Market
- Female Potential and Labor Market
- Mobility in the Cyprus Labor Market
- Small and medium enterprises and the self-employed
- Nursing Staff
- Foreign Workforce
- Participation in Education and Training
Open Call for Educators for collaboration with the Productivity Center, within the framework of the National Action Plan for the European Year of Skills
The Cyprus Productivity Center (KEPA) invites all interested lecturers to apply and teach in programs that it organizes within the framework of the National Action Plan for the European Year of Skills.
The National Action Plan for the European Year of Skills "Modern Professional Development for the Green and Digital Transition" focuses on three main pillars, one of which concerns the Development of Modern Professional Culture which is implemented by the Productivity Centre.
The goal of the project is the short-term training of 100,000 people (employed, unemployed, students, national guards, contracted soldiers) by the end of 2024 in four basic aspects of professional culture that are the subjects of the programs for which the services of trainers are requested in the context of this invitation.
The subjects of the training programs are:
1. Green development/ environment
2. Digital skills
3. Safety and health at work
4. Quality of work
For the training programs, the Productivity Center will prepare standard presentations in PowerPoint format lasting approximately two hours that the presenters will be asked to implement in person in all cities as well as in the province and/or remotely (online). In addition, a standard presentation (Powerpoint) will be prepared for the development of professional culture, lasting approximately four hours and covering all four subjects.
Launch of two HRDA Plans at the Hermes digital portal
The Cyprus Human Resources Development Authority (HRDA) has introduced the following two two Plans at the digital portal of Hermes on January 1, 2022:
- Business Staffing Plan with Graduates of Higher Education
- Long-Term Unemployed Training Plan in Businesses / Organizations
Applications from employers for approval of training programs under these Plans are now only submitted electronically, via the Hermes digital portal.
All procedures for these training programs are done exclusively electronically through the digital portal of Hermes and the HRDA does not accept applications, requests, clarifications and documents in any other way.
The HRDA announces that revised Policy and Procedure Guides for the two Plans will enter into force, can be found on the HRDA website.
Labor supply and demand forecasts in the Cypriot economy 2022-2032
The systematic monitoring and analysis of the long-term trends in the labor market as well as the prediction of the future situation, both for the quantitative needs and for the knowledge and skills required, are basic conditions for improving the adaptability of human resources and creating a flexible market work.
With the aim of addressing the problem of skill mismatch in the Cypriot labor market, in the National Reform Program of Cyprus, improving the relevance of education and training to the labor market has been set as a reform priority. The provision of valid information on the future needs of the labor market plays a significant contribution to this effort. In this context, AND, utilizing its many years of experience and expertise in labor market matters, proceeded to prepare a study on the Labor supply and demand forecasts in the Cypriot economy 2022-2032.
The main purpose of the study is to provide forecasts for both the demand and the supply of labor in the Cypriot economy during the period 2022-2032. Demand forecasts are provided for 52 sectors of economic activity and 309 occupations, while supply forecasts are provided for the economy as a whole, by gender and by education level.
Employment Needs Forecasts in Occupations
The Human Resource Development Authority (ANAD) has prepared a study on the employment needs in 309 occupations for the period 2017-2027. The data presented for each profession are the following:
- Description of Profession
- Indicative Areas of Employment
- Employment Forecasts
- Employment Development Needs Forecasts
- Employment Needs Forecasts due to Departures
- Provisions for Total Employment Needs
The Occupation Needs Forecasts are the following (By ISCO-08 Category):
3. Technical assistants
4. Office secretaries
5. Service employees and salesmen
6. Farmers, livestockers and fishers
8. Machinery operators and assemblers
9. Untrained workers
Special plan for the training of the unemployed
A. In public and broader public organizations and other organizations and institutios
The purpose of the Plan is to provide vocational training and work experience to the unemployed while providing opportunities to Services / Organizations of the Public and wider Public sector, Local Authorities, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Non-Profit Institutions to utilize adequate human resources. In particular, the Plan aims at:
(a) Promoting employment and reducing unemployment by improving the employability of the unemployed.
(b) Providing opportunities for the unemployed to join / re-join employment by upgrading existing or acquiring new knowledge and skills.
(c) Encouraging organizations / services to offer appropriate training programs to the unemployed.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the training programs started on February 1, 2021, while the process of evaluation and approval of the unemployed and organizations / services continues, and new placements will be made.
B. In certain economic sectors which were affected by the pandemic Covid-19
The Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance through the Cyprus Human Resources Development Authority (HRDA), in the framework of the Government's policy to reduce unemployment and promote employment, has launched the "Special Training Plan for employees in certain economic sectors affected by the Pandemic”
The Plan aims at:
⦁ creating new and sustainable jobs and training of the unemployed.
⦁ facilitating young people's access to employment
⦁ providing new knowledge and skills to the unemployed in the following thematic areas:
(a) Crisis management and development and business continuity development.
(b) Digital knowledge and skills.
(c) Occupational safety and health, risk assessment in the workplace and defining an action plan to address them.
(d) Basic principles of food hygiene and personal hygiene.
(e) Environmental issues.
Those interested for participation in the Plan will be eligible to apply electronically through the HRDA website from November 2 to November 16, 2020.
Vocational Education and Training for the Future of Work Cedefop Refernet Thematic Perspectives
Cyprus Policy strategies and initiatives have been decided to prepare vocational education and training (VET) systems for digitalisation and the future of work technologies.
According to the digital economy and society index (DESI) 2019, Cyprus’s performance in the human capital dimension, which measures the skills needed to take advantage of the possibilities offered by digital developments, is below the EU average, although progress is being made. In 2018, 84% of the Cypriot population used the internet regularly (versus 79% in 2017), but only 50% of individuals between 16 and 74 possessed at least basic digital skills.
Exploring employment and training needs in 2020
The Human Resources Development Authority has prepared in December 2019 a study called "Investigating Employment and Training Needs in 2020" which is done on an annual basis and is particularly important as it strengthens and complements the periodic forecasting of employment needs in the Cypriot economy for ten years. The annual survey identifies the skills that are needed in the Cypriot economy in order to plan and implement the relevant activities of the HRDA in order to meet the needs and alleviate labor market problems.
The recommendations in the study lead to suggestions for nine specialties and four skills for which training programs can be promoted. These are either initial training programs for individuals interested in working in these specialties, or continuing training programs for individuals interested in acquiring new and/or upgrading existing knowledge and skills. These programs help the trainees adapt to the ever-changing needs of businesses and of the economy, thus improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their work.
The training programs targeted at the unemployed are mainly implemented through the HRDA Plan "Unemployed Training Programs". This project includes both the enrichment and/or upgrading of the knowledge and skills of the unemployed as well as their placement in businesses/organizations to gain work experience and practical training.
The first educational programme providing continuing adult education was introduced on a voluntary basis in 1952 by a group of primary school teachers with the aim to help combat illiteracy, which was particularly high in rural areas of the island at that time. The programme was a success and, as a result, at Independence in 1960, the Adult Education Centres (Επιμορφωτικά Κέντρα) were established under the supervision of the Directorate of Primary Education.
The Cyprus Productivity Centre (CPC) (Κέντρο Παραγωγικότητας) was established in 1963 by the Cyprus Government with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme and the International Labour Office (ILO). The Government has undertaken full responsibility for the operation of the CPC (following decision 2463 by the Council of Ministers) as the co-operation agreement expired on 30 November 1974. CPC's main objective is to assist private and public organisations to utilise their human and capital resources in the best possible manner in order to increase productivity.
The Pedagogical Institute was founded in 1972 by decision of the Cabinet on the basis of the report - proposal submitted by Professor EG Wedell, Consultant of UNESCO in 1971 on "Cyprus - Teacher and Educational Development".
The Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA) was originally established in 1974, under the name of Industrial Training Authority of Cyprus (ITA). Laws 21/1974, 6/1975, 17/1980 and 94/1988, provided for the establishment of the Industrial Training Authority as a semi-government organisation whose remit was to plan and approve programmes aimed at the technical and professional training and continuing education of adults. Law 125(I)/1999 provided for the evolution of the Industrial Training Authority into the Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA).
The Evening Gymnasium (Εσπερινό Γυμνάσιο) was established in 1990, providing up to six years of lower and upper secondary general education).
The Cyprus Academy of Public Administration (CAPA) (Κυπριακή Ακαδημία Δημόσιας Διοίκησης) was established in 1991 on the basis of the Council of Ministers’ Decision Nr. 35.582, dated 22.05.1991, aiming to contribute to the modernisation of the Civil Service. It offers continuous learning workshops, seminars and day events especially designed for civil servants.
The Evening Technical School (Εσπερινή Τεχνική Σχολή) was established in Lefkosia in 1999/2000 on the premises of a regular technical school, aiming to offer “second chance” education to those who interrupted initial education.
The Open University of Cyprus, established under Law N. 234 (I) / 2002, effectively promotes lifelong learning and facilitates the participation of students who are otherwise employed.
The Council of Ministers approved, in 2013, the status of the Mediterranean Institute of Management (MIM) as a public institution of tertiary education operating under the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance (Decision Nr. 75.439, dated 10.07.2013).
The Post-Secondary Institutes of Vocational Education and Training (MIEEK) were established as public schools of post-secondary non-tertiary education in 2013, aiming to offer vocational education and training to adults aged 18 or above.
The New Modern Apprenticeship Scheme replaced the old apprenticeship scheme in 2013.
Adult education and training validation schemes are in the process of development.
Strengthening adult digital skills and access to Education and Training
In the framework of the implementation of the co-funded Project by the European Commission and the Republic of Cyprus for Adult Education for the period 2017-19, an Adult Education Conference was held on 22 June 2018 on "Enhancing adult digital competences and their access to Education and Training".
The project aims to increase the overall supply of digitally trained professionals to meet the many challenges posed by rapid technological developments.
- improving access to lifelong learning for all and recognising learning outcomes;
- improving the quality and efficiency of education and training;
- promoting research and development to support lifelong learning;
- improving employability (promoting entry and reentry to the labour market).
- operation of the national qualifications framework;
- promotion of the system of vocational qualifications;
- improvement of lifelong guidance and counseling services;
- improvement of the attractiveness of secondary technical and vocational education;
- modernization of curricula;
- training the unemployed to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes in sectors with potential for development;
- provision of job placements for the unemployed to acquire work experience in enterprises/organizations;
- continuation of the new modern apprenticeship programme.