Minister Harris Stresses Economic Importance of Research, Innovation & Life-Long Learning

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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Earlier today the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD  addressed IBEC’s National Council. In his speech, Harris referred to the National Economic Plan and how research, innovation and life-long learning must be at the heart of our recovery post-pandemic.

Economic Importance of Research, Innovation & Life-Long Learning

Speaking today, Minister Harris said:

“Today I shared my ambition to enhance human capability and productivity, so that every person in this country can pursue opportunities and reach their full potential. We need to ensure that when we are rebuilding our economy, we are making a special effort to build opportunities for younger people, people from another country, women and people who have a disability.

“Without such investments, inequality will widen and in turn the growth process itself will falter.

“We are living through, and are guardians of, an age of transformation, disruption, opportunity.

“The overarching challenge we face is to support both enterprise, the workers in those enterprises and those seeking sustainable and quality employment to see skills and learning for what it is – enhancing human capability.

“In essence we need more businesses and more people to see the options, the opportunities and indeed the necessity of skills development and lifelong learning. We need to change the culture in this country. Your education journey is no longer a block of time. It continues throughout your life.”

Minister Harris outlined a new Skills Pact between businesses and his department, which will aim to address the needs of those with low or no qualifications and how we can ensure they are not excluded from employment, and how the government can support both enterprise, the workers in those enterprises from gaining new skills.

The Pact will be developed with businesses through the National Skills Council, which is attended by IDA and Enterprise Ireland.

He added:

“The last year has been critical for the health of the nation. The next 24 months will be critical for the economy. We must work together to put innovation and lifelong learning at the centre of our national economic recovery plan. If we champion human capability and productivity in business and public services, no one gets lefts behind and our businesses thrive with a high quality of life for everyone.

“We have a compelling, evidenced-based, argument for how investment in research and education is an essential part of economic recovery and renewal.”

Steven Galvin

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