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McKevitt Calls For More Opportunities In Creative Media Sector
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SDLP South Down MLA Karen McKevitt said the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure needs to engage more closely with further and higher education institutions which can prepare young people to work in the creative industries.

Ms McKevitt, who is party spokesperson on Culture, Arts and Leisure (CAL), said: “I want to welcome the initiative taken by Southern Regional College in making creative media a core element of its £500,000 i3 (Industry, innovation and incubation programme).

The Assembly CAL committee on which I sit has studied the potential of the creative industries and identified shortages of thousands of skilled graduates.

Our committee learned that in the last four years the ‘App Industry’ which just consists of mobile development and games, has been responsible for the creation of half a million jobs in the USA. If we scale that down to Northern Ireland we could be talking about 2500 jobs.

But we are turning out only 300 software engineers a year which is fewer than the number who retire or die. There are 650 known vacancies in larger companies and there are known to be in many more in smaller ones. It is very important that DCAL as the responsible department of government should work closely with those in the educational sector who want to tailor their course offerings to fill this gap.”