Published: Wed, 12 February 2014
MEP Kelly’s Skills Database proposal to be examined by Forfás Sean Kelly MEP’s proposal to develop a regional skills database will be examined by Ireland’s policy advisory board for enterprise and science, Forfás. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, has confimed he has requested that Forfás examines Mr Kelly’s idea to ascertain whether it could be developed as a concrete proposal in time for the Action Plan for Jobs 2014.
Mr Kelly called for the establishment of an online local skills database to promote Irish regional locations with a view to increasing the geographical spread of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI):“In order to encourage a more regional spread of FDI in Ireland, we need to promote the advantages of our regions and the educated workforce people based there,” Mr Kelly said. “An excellent initiative running in the US State of Indiana provides a working example of how Ireland could launch a skills database (http://statein.zoomprospector.com/). The Indiana Economic Development Corporation launched a website which provides prospective investors/business owners with a quick search facility listing population, percentage of people with degrees and other useful statistics for each town/region. “If we were to launch that service in Ireland, an investor could easily examine the possibility of locating a business in some of the more regional towns. We already have a great deal of information at hand via the CSO and each region could help input further data or links to relevant information (such as unemployment levels, average cost of housing, average household income, available office space). “It would allow us to promote our rural towns so that we could spread the job creation and economic benefits of FDI across Ireland, based on available resources and skilled communities,” he added. In order to achieve balanced regional development, the IDA currently focuses on marketing Gateway locations within each Region as the areas of critical mass and highlights the opportunities provided by Hub locations which are within commuting distances of these Gateways. Succeed in Ireland is an additional new scheme put in place by the Government under the Action Plan for Jobs 2012. The initiative is intended to complement IDA’s efforts to attract more fast-growing emerging companies to Ireland and focuses on generating projects from SMEs.