Momentum hosted Northern Ireland’s first Digital Summit on 25 September, sponsored by Ulster Bank and bringing together six Northern Ireland Executive ministers, six government departments, industry experts, large employers, sole traders, and representatives of universities, schools, and financial institutions.
The event followed on from a manifesto published in January, ‘New ideas, New technology, New jobs’ which was the product of a six-month consultation analysing the current barriers to growth.
There are around 16,000 people employed in the IT and telecoms industry and another 12,000 working in IT or telecoms occupations in other industries, but Momentum has said there is potential to create 20,000 more jobs.
The event at the Stormont Hotel, which was chaired by Lobbyist Barry Turley, discussed the issues of access to skills, access to funding and access to markets leading to job creation.
During the day, delegates heard from Employment Minister Stephen Farry, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, Education Minister John O’Dowd and Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin as well as the First and Deputy First Ministers. John O’Dowd has already agreed to an immediate meeting to discuss Momentum’s plans.
Among the proposals are the establishment of a digital innovations fund, a programme of supported visits to international trade shows and conferences, development of the skills supply chain, and a scheme to support digital warehouses or hubs in provincial towns.
The number of jobs trade body is predicting over the next decade is 20,000 (Belfast Telegraph, 26/9/13)