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Edel Spillane

HR Director, Unum

Ireland has the youngest population in the EU with 33% under the age of 25, which is of significant value and benefit to our talent economy for the future.

Ireland is regarded as a highly educated population with a high number of graduates. In 2018/19, there were over 228,000 students enrolled in Third Level education. We also have a strong, credible reputation for developing strong STEM graduates through traditional routes such as CAO. However, there are many avenues to upskilling and reskilling in this field.

Ireland’s technology sector is continuing to experience high demands for new and evolving technology skills. Therefore, initiatives such as Springboard+ and Skillsnet Ireland are excellent accessible options for people to gain highly sought after skills and qualifications.

In 2008, Unum Ireland was established in Carlow as a thriving technology hub for our US business. Today our team of 190 employees deliver digital, infrastructure and software solutions and services as part of the company’s global technology team.

Developing skills for working environment

We established an intern programme in 2015, as part of a unique partnership with the Institute of Technology Carlow. The programme consists of a six month opportunity for students to develop their technology, leadership and communication skills, become familiar and comfortable with a high-pace working environment and to contribute to the overall process of providing innovative solutions for our customers.

We are passionate about providing an experience that is beneficial and valuable to both the students and our teams.

“We aim to provide meaningful project work, professional experience and personal development for every student that gets involved”, says Edel Spillane, HR Director Unum Ireland. The programme is concluded with a team innovation challenge which involves researching and developing a prototype for a specific Unum use case.

Since its inception, we have hosted 75 students and employed 40% of our intern alumni. In 2022, we will host the largest group of interns from IT Carlow, Waterford Institute of Technology and Maynooth University from various technology courses including Software, Gaming, Security and Data to name a few.

Shaping skills for future challenges

Our interns are immersed into the technology organisation, a real life test case, working in a high performing team where they get to apply their skills and knowledge. “We are passionate about providing an experience that is beneficial and valuable to both the students and our teams”, says Edel Spillane.

Our intern programme is one aspect of our relationship with third level institutions. We are committed to providing industry knowledge, expertise and advice to our partners, to help shape and evolve the technology curriculum for the future. This partnership is so important and valuable to our industry as we continue to meet the ongoing demands for highly skilled and industry ready graduates.

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