The leader of a new regional jobs initiative outside of Dublin claims the National Planning Framework needs to include substantial supports for hubs outside of Dublin.
Director of the South East Action Plan for jobs, Sean McKeown, claims the framework needs to include significant investment in rural Irish roads, in broadband connectivity and allowing hubs such as the South East to flourish.
Mr McKeown was addressing the 4th eDigiregion International Conference at Waterford Institute of Technology. The two day conference sees delegates from Ireland, Spain, Hungary and Romania working together to promote sustainable regional development and growth under the EU-funded programme.
Data from the conference shows that two thirds of students form the region who access third level do so outside of the region and 60% of these never return. The region also has the lowest rate of science, technology, engineering and maths graduates in employment within the region – standing at 23% compared to a national average of 29%.
Addressing the conference, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan said, "Developing our regions so that they achieve their full potential is one of the Government’s highest priorities. The nexus of companies and higher education research centres enabling the free circulation and exchange of ideas is critical in driving innovation."
He added, "The eDIGIREGION project is an excellent example of how the EU can add value by enabling industry, academia, government and civil society to come together to co-design, co-develop and co-implement solutions to drive social and economic development in the region."