TU Dublin: Invitation to Tender

TU Dublin

“Saer” Industry Mentoring Programme

External Evaluation Brief

Project overview

TU Dublin is delighted to have been successful in securing a grant from Salesforce to pilot an innovative project to support students into meaningful internships during their studies and rewarding careers post-graduation through mentoring and career development activities. The Saer Industry Mentoring programme is being developed on a pilot basis by TU Dublin’s School of Computer Science in City Campus in collaboration with Computer Science faculties on the University’s Blanchardstown and Tallaght campuses and extending to other disciplines where relevant. Saer trains industry professionals in early-career mentoring and connects them with student mentees. The programme specifically targets groups traditionally underrepresented in the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector, including females, those with disabilities, from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and minority groups. In the short-term, students who participate on the programme are supported into meaningful, paid internships during their studies. Ultimately, Saer aims to lead students on a path towards rewarding careers in technology-related fields after graduation. Alongside mentoring from industry professionals, students will also benefit from a range of career development supports and a wraparound programme to connect them to leaders in the ICT world. The overall goal of Saer is to promote diversity and inclusive behaviours among future ICT professionals, while developing a diverse pipeline of talent for the sector. Saer originates in the old Irish tradition of learning from the Master and becoming free to pursue one’s own career.

The pilot will run from December 2020 to December 2022. The development and design phase began in September 2020. The programme will include eight individual mentoring sessions between student and their industry mentor, alongside group mentoring to include industry and TU Dublin mentors with students to explore unconscious bias and inclusive behaviours. A wraparound programme will connect students with leaders in industry who have taken non-traditional routes into their roles or represent diversity in the sector. In the third phase of the programme, students undertake internships and following will be connected to a range of career development supports to equip them with the required skills, attributes, knowledge and understanding to enter meaningful and rewarding careers post-graduation.

TU Dublin is developing this programme in the context of Ireland being a global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) hub with the second-highest number of ICT specialists with tertiary education in Europe (83%). However, there is a persistent shortage of ICT specialists in Ireland including the current vacancy backlog, which is estimated to be about 5,000 open roles (pre Covid_19). Forecasts predict 18,000 new vacancies for persons with high-level ICT skills per annum by 2022, in both international and indigenous Irish companies. 35% of Ireland’s difficult to fill vacancies in October 2016 were for the ICT sector, primarily for professional roles in software development, followed by engineers, systems/solutions architects, business intelligence, tech support and sales, and digital commerce managers, with 21% of all vacancies being in entry-level positions. While the number of people in Ireland studying ICT has been rising over the last few years, there are persistent diversity challenges, including:

  • Lack of gender diversity
  • Importation of talent
  • Lack of people from disadvantaged and minority groups and communities

Delivery – Project Steps & Timeline

  • Sep – Dec 2020: Design and Development Phase – stakeholder engagement + design of evaluation framework
  • Jan – May 2021: Phase 1- Individual mentoring -120 students/60 mentors + mentor CPD
  • Sep – Dec 2021: Phase 2 – wraparound programme + group mentoring for inclusivity
  • Feb – Aug 2022: Phase 3 – 120 students commence & complete internships
  • Sep – Dec 2022: Final Evaluation

Reporting, evaluation and impact measurement

Effectiveness as a programme – does it have impact and meet results? Does it work? Is it an effective tool?

In order to fully maximise the potential of this programme and to ensure that we are delivering a project that achieves and tracks the proposed impact, we would like to work with an external agency to support the development of an evaluation framework and the interim and final evaluation of the programme.

We are seeking a quote from relevant companies to work with us to deliver these reports and provide a framework for how best to gather our data and to bring it together. We are seeking the following:

  1. Evaluation framework
  2. Interim report following phase 2 – by January 2022
  3. Full and final external evaluation – by January 2023

The evaluation should cover the following areas:

  • Impact of the intervention
  • Achievement of objectives as outlined to funders
  • Profiles of students
  • System of tracking students throughout the programme and post-graduation
  • Employer engagement
  • Communications, promotion and awareness
  • Challenges, trends and opportunities – the wider context
  • Analysis of findings

We will be in a position to share our concept notes and research, data in relation to student recruitment, employers and other stakeholders. We are also happy for the prospective organisation to suggest other data that may prove important to the final evaluation.

Project Outputs identified with funders

Output - Deadline

  • Data collection system to track programme results and graduate outcomes in place - December 2020
  • 120 students from underrepresented groups enrolled in programme - January 2021
  • Student participants receive at least 8 hours of individual mentoring - May 2021
  • Students participating report attitudinal and behavioural changes in relation to unconscious bias and inclusivity - September 2022
  • 100% student participants secure meaningful paid internships + 70% employed in ICT-related field after graduation - March 2022
  • 60 industry mentors complete CPD in Early Career Mentoring - September 2021
  • Partner companies offer internships - March 2022

The full funding application and relevant programme documentation will be shared upon awarding of contract.


The proposed budget for this work is to a maximum of €15,000 for three work packages which will include development of evaluation framework, interim report and final report and recommendations.

Next Steps

Tenderers must submit a proposal of no more than 4 A4 pages (excluding supporting documentation). Proposals should be submitted in the format outlined below and include the following information.

  • Knowledge & Understanding of Brief including prior experience in working on educational pathway programmes
  • Approach/Methodology – including a timeframe and work plan
  • Value for Money – include detailed budget and expectations of time required from TUDublin staff
  • Further Information


  • Knowledge & Understanding of Brief - 30
  • Approach/Methodology - 30
  • Value for money - 20
  • Track record (experience with mentoring programmes an advantage) - 20
  • Total - 100

We request that all submissions be made by email to Dr. Deirdre Lillis at deirdre.lillis@tudublin.ie no later than Friday 16th April. Following submission, we will shortlist to a maximum of three and will request a phone call with all potential candidates to discuss in more detail. Queries in relation to this brief can be made to Anna McCarthy – anna.mccarthy@tudublin.ie

General Info

Date Entered/Updated
24th Mar, 2021
Expiry Date
16th Apr, 2021