The most recent meeting of the Co Wexford Economic Development & Enterprise SPC (Nov 28) heard that, at 41%, Wexford has one of the southeast region’s lowest levels of students progressing to higher education. Efforts are underway to tackle this situation through South East Action Plan for Jobs and the South East Regional Skills Forum. The latter body is concerned, generally, with “fostering stronger links between enterprise, and education and training providers”. A key part of this will be an increase in the numbers of apprenticeships, traineeships and undergraduate placements in the region. No less important is the need for ongoing workforce development and upskilling so as to keep pace with technological advancements.
Tied in with the above is Wexford’s LECP (Local Economic & Community Plan 2016-2021) which “sets out the goals, objectives and actions needed to promote and support economic and community development in County Wexford”. Of the six High Level Goals listed, three fall under the remit of this SPC. These concern themselves with making Wexford an even better place to visit and in which to live and work; creating an outstanding environment for business; creating conditions for long-term sustainable growth while respecting our natural environment and heritage.
Tom Banville of Wexford LEO (Local Enterprise Office) gave details of a successful year on the business start-up / entrepreneurial front. There is plenty of support there for anyone thinking of taking the plunge or, for those already up and running, to expand.
On a subject close to every business person’s heart – rates – Director of Services Tony Larkin said that the Council budget just agreed includes a 3% increase in rates. He said that revenue from the increase is ring-fenced for economic development policy.
Visit Wexford’s new Destination Marketing Manager, Norma Quinsey, spoke about her plans to freshen up the brand and to engage with stakeholders as she goes about better exploiting Wexford’s tourism potential.
On Special Projects the meeting was given an impressive list covering major regeneration around the county on a number of levels (social, cultural, business start-up and development, innovation). The focus is very much on meeting the goals as laid out in the current LECP. It shows that the Council is not content to sit and wait for the IDA to spring into action in the county. Current projects include Current projects include: Min Ryan Park, Wexford; Wexford Quays and town centre development/enhancement (including Trinity Wharf); Templeshannon (Enniscorthy) regeneration; Enniscorthy Tech Park, Killagoley; New Ross Business Park; Gorey Market House; Wexford Arts Centre; Carrigfoyle Activity Centre; Enniscorthy Tourism Project; Greenways – Regional strategy development (Rosslare to Waterford, New Ross Red Bridge Greenway).