Leading Irish entrepreneur hits out at ‘astounding’ education gulf
Ireland is suffering from a “strong disconnect between education and the real world,” one of Ireland’s best-known entrepreneurs, Jerry Kennelly, has warned.
Too many school-leavers are being directed by family and educators into jobs such as accountancy that are most at risk from automation in coming years, while the country is producing too few computer science graduates, he said.
Mr Kennelly – who made about €110m selling his picture business to Getty Images in 2006 – also said that he has no plans to sell any stakes in his Tweak.com venture, or to float the business. He has invested more than €20m in the venture.
“The reality is that the country is full of low-skill, low-salary jobs,” Mr Kennelly told the Irish Independent. “We really have to look at where we’re at. A lot of the high-salary jobs are with foreign nationals because we haven’t educated or trained people for them.
“Most of the people who work in call centres in Ireland are graduates of third-level education and most of them are never going beyond where they’re at €23,000 or €25,000 salaries,” he added.
“There’s an astounding, shocking disconnect between the education system and the real world.”
“A lot” of the third-level courses are “nonsense,” he said. “For somebody who spends three years studying something, in some aspect of what they do they should be work-ready,” said Mr Kennelly. “They should be trained as well as educated and ready to start in a competent way at some junior level. They’re not.”
Only 1,397 people graduating from computer science courses this year, he said. “That’s why we employ mostly foreign software developers,” he said, referring to his Kerry-based Tweak.com business, which enables businesses to design their own marketing and advertising material.