Wicklow County Council hosted a ‘Screen Skills to Green Skills’ event in County Buildings on Friday.
The aim was to create an opportunity for professionals and stakeholders to help facilitate the development and delivery of training and education to meet the skills needs of County Wicklow into the future.
The theme for the event was ‘Screen Skills to Green Skills’ and the focus was on film, food, and renewables as key drivers of economic development in the county.
Opening the event, Leas Cathaoirleach Cllr. Aoife Flynn-Kennedy, said: “We hope this event will be a catalyst for active collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders in the skills development and training and development of potential employees for the film, food, and renewable energy sectors.”
The keynote speaker was Minister of Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Science, Minister Simon Harris TD, with other speakers representing the film, food, and renewable energy industries.
These included Kate Dempsey, Chief Executive Officer, Aqualicense Ltd; Graeme McWilliams, Chief Operating Officer, Echelon Data Centres; Fran Keaveney, Screen Ireland; James Burke, Retail and Food Expert, James Burke and Associates.
Panel members included: Dr Deirdre Keyes, Chief Executive, KWETB; David Denieffe, Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Registrar, SETU; James O’Byrne, Head of Commercial Division, National Maritime College of Ireland; Drd Michael Brougham, Regional Director, Enterprise Ireland and Chair of the Mid-East Regional Skills Forum and Siobhán Keogh, Manager, Mid-East Regional Skills Forum. The event was compered by Noel Davidson, The Entrepreneurs Academy.
Minister Simon Harris TD, summarised his objective as Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science as “making sure we are ready for the future, so that individuals can reach their full potential and get to where they want to get in life”.
Complimenting the agencies and education providers for coming together to support the event, the Minister acknowledged the role of Wicklow County Council, the excellent work of KWETB in these challenging times, and expressed delight that we now have a University presence in County Wicklow as SETU deliver lifelong learning programmes from Wicklow County Campus. He stressed the importance of having a masterplan for the development of skills infrastructure to allow us to harness the employment opportunities being discussed.
Mr Brian Gleeson, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, commented: “Offshore Wind Projects, the Film and Food sectors have been prioritised as areas of activity for Wicklow County Council in the Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024. This will also be clearly evident in the new Local Economic and Community Plan for County Wicklow which is currently at planning/consultation stage. These sectors will create hundreds of jobs for County Wicklow and bring with them significant investment for the County as well as contributing to the local economy and to supporting our tourist offering.”
Closing the event, Ms Lorraine Gallagher, Director of Services, Wicklow County Council, summed up the morning’s discussions saying: “Our purpose today was to ensure Wicklow is well prepared for the future needs of some of our key sectors – the film, food, and renewable energy sectors, and to help with getting the right people, with the right skills in place for these sectors when they need them.”
Wicklow County Council is committed to continuous engagement with our business stakeholders in order to build skills education and training to meet our future needs.