Louth Sinn Féin Cllr Anne Campbell
A SUGGESTION to include representatives of Dundalk primary and secondary schools on the Louth Economic Forum’s Education and Training Task Group has been made by Louth Cllr Anne Campbell.
The Sinn Féin representative made the suggestion to the forum’s chairperson, Martin Cronin, who gave a short presentation on the task group at Louth County Council’s monthly meeting on Monday last.
Mr Cronin said the Education and Training Task Group was established by the LEF and it is chaired by PayPal’s events and communications specialist, Emer Higgins.
Membership of the task group includes representatives from education and training as well as industry and business sectors within County Louth.
The chairman said the purpose of the task group is to promote formal exchange of relevant information between the two sectors and to ascertain ways in which the sectors can be mutually supportive.
DkIT, the Department of Social Protection, LMETB as well as officials from Louth County Council, Creative Spark and the Mill are joined by representatives from VESTA and Prometric on the group.
Cllr Campbell suggested to Mr Cronin at the meeting that representatives of the primary and secondary schools in Dundalk be considered for membership.
She said: "One of the main points that has been made by industry coming to Dundalk, most notably by PayPal, is that there’s a deficit of foreign language skills in the local workforce.
"I would ask that the chairman consider having even one or two reps from Dundalk primary and secondary schools on this group as language is a skill that needs to be developed at a very young age and by the time young people get onto third level, few, if any, will take up a language then. It needs to be looked at and promoted from a far earlier age."
Mr Cronin said he believed Cllr Campbell had made a very good point and added he would consider opening the membership to school representatives.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Campbell said: "I was very happy that Mr Cronin took my point on board. The foreign language skills deficit in this area has been highlighted by PayPal, but development of these skills start at primary school and this is something I’m glad the task group is going to look at enhancing."