Skills and jobs feature strongly at IIA conference

13 May 2011

The skills shortage is the greatest impediment to business growth in the digital sector, according to Joan Mulvihill, CEO of the Irish Internet Association.

Speaking at the IIA annual conference yesterday, she proposed an initiative to address this issue.

 “We need to stem the flow of emigration of ‘smart skills’ and to incentivise positive repatriation of those who have left and the managed immigration of the skills we need.

“Proposals for a ‘nerd visa’ do not go far enough. It is not a question of managing who ‘can’ come to work in Ireland but rather a question of getting them to ‘want’ to work in Ireland.”

Minister Richard Bruton TD, referring to the Jobs Initiative, announced on Tuesday, said at the conference that the Government plans to focus on three things: reducing costs to business; improving access to finance; and encouraging research, developing and innovation.

He also announced a fund of €5 million over five years for an applied research centre for cloud computing.

“According to a recent report by Microsoft, Ireland’s cloud computing industry could be worth €9.5 billion per annum and employ 8,600 people by 2014. The new applied research centre, which will connect both multinationals and Irish enterprises with researchers, can see Ireland take the lead in this crucial high growth area,” he said.

Also at the conference, Dylan Collins, founder of Jolt Online Games and 2010 Net Visionary winner, shared his vision for Ireland 3.0, saying that Ireland 2.0 was a great product but “apt to crashing”.  His 3.0 vision included initiatives such as ‘start-up years’ instead of gap years and teaching Mandarin and Spanish instead of French and German in schools.

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