Advance Centre - response to industry needs in the digital transformation era.

Published: 4 Apr, 2023

L-R: Dr. Barry Twomey, Advance Centre Director, UCD; Louise O Gorman, Advance Centre Manager, ATU Sligo, Yvonne Sarsfield, Instructional Designer, Advance Centre, ATU Sligo, Sinead O’Donovan, Advance Centre Marketing Manager, ATU Sligo, James Wright, Head of Department of Electronic Engineering, TU Dublin Tallaght; Xavier Velay, ATU Project Lead, Advance Centre, ATU Sligo; Mary Anne Culhane, Education Technologist, Advance Centre, UCD and Joanna Kozielec, Advance Centre Manager, UCD.

At the official launch of the Advance Centre last September Minister Simon Harris said, “In the times that we live in, there is a responsibility on universities to share their knowledge and expertise with public and private enterprise, and likewise for enterprise to work with higher education to ensure we create the best graduates and the most modern workforce.” These words became a catalyst for the Advance Centre to organise its first industry forum: “Addressing key skills for Digital Transformation in Industry” on March 24th, in UCD. The event was designed for senior leaders to help them to get a better understanding of the digital transformation journey, from policies, procedures to talent management, and to highlight some of the ways Universities can support this.

Over the course of a half day, participants had the opportunity to follow a very engaging programme. The first keynote speaker, John Durcan - CTO in the IDA, presented on the new regulatory changes in the digital area emerging from the EU, impacts this may bring for industry and the supports available. This was followed by an industry panel sharing the key challenges with digital transformation across various sectors. The second keynote speaker Maureen Gaffney, renowned psychologist, and broadcaster, spoke about transition points in people’s careers, tools allowing them to build resilience and how to successfully adapt. Through the second panel discussion from educational providers the Advance Centre was able to showcase the changes in learning solutions such as micro-credentials, and recognition of prior learning pathways being made available.

The event sparked a constructive exchange of ideas, supported by an overall positive conclusion that there are a lot of opportunities ahead on the digital journey when we put people at its centre.

The Advance Centre is an education partnership between UCD, Atlantic TU Sligo, and TU Dublin set up under Human Capital Investment Pillar 3 in 2020. The Centre focuses on professional learning offering accredited courses. Its ambition is to become a role model to facilitate companies and employees to address skill gaps that are emerging in the technology and digital transformation evolution taking place across many different industries in Ireland.