Ireland’s ‘Blue Economy’ going swimmingly it seems

2 Jun 2015

Ireland’s ‘Blue Economy’ is flourishing of late, however a lack of awareness of potential careers is holding people back from getting involved.

It was recently reported that 10,000 jobs were expected to be created in Ireland’s maritime industry by 2020, and the latest growth figures lend authority to that.

The current marine economy employs 18,480 people in Ireland, and that number actually has the potential to hit near 30,000 by 2020, owing to growth in the industry as a whole.

Latest indicators show that Ireland’s maritime economy grew by 9pc between 2010 and 2012, double the Irish economy’s overall growth. Indeed, employment figures rose almost 6pc between then and now, showing just how out of kilter it is with many parts of Ireland’s, and indeed Europe’s, stagnated industries.

Ireland’s Blue Economy

This comes on the back of the Government report last month, which highlighted the skills needed to satisfy the impending explosion in employment in this area.

The roles that will be required, should this major expansion in the industry happen, will be so general that people will merely need some side-stepping training.

However, one point of concern was the lack of awareness, with many not knowing that they could forge a career in the maritime industry.

Considering Ireland is encased by miles and miles of ocean, which has the potential to produce anything from transport routes and food right through to energy and research, it should be easy to explain why there are such high hopes.

We have the skills

The most-wanted skills identified by the report – written up by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) – include engineers, people with boat-handling skills and hydrographic surveyors.

The whole area of fishing and general marine research is massive already, but marine energy is a cool niche, with Irish interests throughout.

Waterford Institute of Technology’s Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) is coordinating an aquaculture research project, for example, that will pool knowledge and tech to improve the global fish farm industry.

There’s an industry conference in Cork next month to discuss this whole realm, which will host the likes of EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella.

Aquaculture image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon Hunt joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. He spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet is the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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