The government has launched a programme to train apprentices to carry out IT services for government departments and offices.

It's the first time the state has set up such an apprenticeship scheme for those interested in technology careers in the civil service.

The scheme will involve a partnership with Fastrack to IT, which is the national coordinating provider for ICT Tech Apprenticeships, as well as the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB).

Candidates who are selected will take up placements in government departments for two years.

They will work in the areas of infrastructure and operations or software development.

If successful, participants will receive a National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Computer Networking or in Computer Programming.

The move comes at a time when the war for IT talent is intense, with many organisations struggling to recruit workers.

"The Civil Service needs to become more innovative in how it finds, develops, retains and maximises the performance of its ICT staff and we are looking at a number of ways to do this," said Barry Lowry, Government Chief Information Officer.

"One of the ways is through these new apprenticeships which have the potential to contribute significantly to the long term staffing needs of the Civil and indeed the wider Public Service."