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More investment and more jobs needed in the South East

More investment and more jobs needed in the South East

The director of the South East Action Plan for Jobs says they're half way towards meeting their 2020 target for job creation in the region.

Sean McKeown is one of a number of those taking part in the two day eDIGIREGION conferenceย  at the WIT Arena.

He says they have identified a number of areas ripe for job creation in Waterford and the South East.

"IF we are serious about regional development, diverting jobs out of Dublin and preventing our capital city from further overheating, then the National Planning Framework needs to include substantial supports for hubs outside of Dublin".

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Sean McKeown, Director of the South East Action Plan for jobs is recommending The Framework include significant investment in the region's roads, in broadband connectivity and allowing hubs such as the South East to flourish.

Addressing the crowd at the 4th eDIGIREGION International Conference he said, "some of what has been set out in the blueprint for counties Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford, Waterford and Tipperary has already been achieved since the South East Action Plan for Jobs was first announced in September 2015".

"Employment across the South East has grown by 13,000 over that time; unemployment, while still too high, has dipped from 12.8 per cent to 9.4 per cent and 215,000 people are now at work".

The two day conference saw 150 International delegates from Ireland, Spain, Hungary and Romania working together to promote sustainable regional development and growth under the EU-funded programme.

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Mr McKeown added, โ€œThe South East Action Plan for Jobs is working quite well. It is a tremendous forum and Iโ€™m very impressed with the goodwill being shown.

โ€œWe still face challenges. Major interventions are required to close the gap between the South East region and the rest of the country. National government needs to take the opportunity to support the process here regionally."

Also addressing the conference, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan, TD, said: โ€œDeveloping our regions so that they achieve their full potential is one of the Governmentโ€™s highest priorities."

The South East currently has the lowest rate of science, technology, engineering and maths graduates in employment within the region โ€“ standing at 23 per cent compared to a national average of 29 per cent.

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Data from the conference also strengthens the argument for a Technological University of the South East. It shows that two thirds of students form the region who access Third Level do so outside of the region and 60 per cent of these never return.

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