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Knowledge Economy or Economised Knowledge? January 19, 2005

Posted by jbwan in General, Politics.
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Interesting article in the Times as to why Waterford needs a University. Now I have to say that anything in favour of my beloved city getting acknowledgment is a good thing but I can’t help but notice serious undertones of pity in this article. Nobody wants something because they have been hard-done-by. People want things because they earn them. Although it may be true that Waterford is often overlooked in terms of development I don’t think comments like “the advanced skills of the existing workforce in Waterford are the lowest of all the gateway cities” and “the region has already a particularly low level of participation in higher education, future prospects will start to brighten only when the advanced skills deficit is addressed” help very much to address the situation. For a start any investment in hi-tech industry is automatically sent to Dublin or the Pale region (as some still believe they are living in). The case with most jobs in the South East is that you both have a degree and therefore expect too great a salary to be employed or you do not have the 10 years industrial experience that is supposedly so essential for the position. Pursuing a third level qualification for school leavers therefore, does not seem that attractive when trades and other such offer other qualifications that they can see immediate results from. Technical qualifications see most of their friends losing jobs in favour of their companies moving to India or Eastern Europe. I don’t think that any investment in the knowledge economy is going to solve the issue of industry moving towards cheaper labour costs and it would be incredibly naive to think so. The country was flooded with technical graduates of high quality for the last number of years but a lack of jobs forced them abroad and the promise of their graduation did not entice industry to support their professional birthing. Catch-22 or simply a problem that can only be addressed by the government and its enterprise plans? People are naturally migratory beings and as such will move to whatever area offers them the most. Currently third level qualifications are clearly not that option, it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that people have a reason within Ireland to pursue these qualifications before any claims or measures are taken to widen our knowledge economy. source: Irish Times

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