1 February 2016
By Tom O’Sullivan
In advance of the upcoming general election, Ibec Cork, the group that represents business in the region, called on the next government to ramp up investment in education to ensure students develop the necessary skills to thrive when they enter the workforce. A skilled and versatile talent pool will strengthen Cork’s credentials as an attractive location for businesses to set up.
Ibec Cork Regional Director Peter O’Shaughnessy said: “The talent and creativity of students in the region must be nurtured. The ever changing workplace environment means that the skills requirements of the economy are always evolving. As such, it is crucial that Cork is well positioned to produce a skilled and adaptable workforce.
“The region hosts a range of indigenous and foreign subsidiaries operating on international markets including agri-food and drink, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, precision engineering and ICT products. Cork has internationally renowned heritage, cultural and tourism assets. It also has emerging strengths in energy, healthcare and smart infrastructure. The skill base and depth of the local talent are critical to the region’s development. The new government must support education and training institutions to deliver the range of skills required by enterprise across the spectrum of science, technology, engineering and the arts.
“We also need to ensure that our young students have access to world class career guidance services to help inform their important education and career decisions. A study carried out by Amárach research found that 47% of survey respondents would like their children to live where they are now when they start working. World class education facilities can play a major role in enabling young people to continue to live and work in their local communities.
“The Amárach research also indicated that 37% of Munster respondents would like their children to work in a large multinational or large Irish company when they are older. A highly skilled and versatile workforce will be fundamental in attracting these companies to the region.”
The Munster respondents then selected the Public Service (23%), a small or medium sized business (14%) or self-employed (26%) as the other preferred career options for their children when they enter the workforce.
“The next government must implement measures that will underpin the sustainability of a high-quality higher education system directly aligned with the needs of the 21st century workplace. We are calling on all general election candidates to actively support us in securing increased education investment for the region. We need a collaborative effort to develop the world class education facilities that Cork richly deserves,” concluded Mr O’Shaughnessy.