YFG National Conference Resolution - Promoting the Digital Economy

Promoting the Digital Economy: Creating Opportunities for Europe's Youth
Resolution for YFG National Conference 2013, Tower Hotel Waterford
Sunday 24 November
Presented by: Dublin Rathdown YFG

Recognising:

• The information and communications (ICT) sector is of huge economic importance to Ireland as part of the modern European economy with the ICT sector growing on average 7 times faster than other sectors across the EU member states and internet-based business is set to double across the twenty seven member states.
• That nine out of the ten top ICT companies have a permanent presence in Ireland with the ICT sector accounting for a third of Ireland's exports by value making development of ICT infrastructure an essential element in making Ireland the best small country to do business, in creating jobs and in encouraging direct foreign investment.
• That slow internet speeds and a low connectivity rate of only 77% (70th in the world) are symptomatic of an ICT infrastructure in need of major development to develop Ireland's ICT industry to its full capacity.
• The education gap apparent between the industy's needs and graduate outcomes is leading to unfilled vacancies in a time of high youth unemployment.

Acknowledging:

• The efforts outlined by Minister Pat Rabbitte in 2012 to develop ICT infrastructure in Ireland aiming to roll out broadband of 30 Mbit/second to everyone in Ireland with half the population to have access of 100 Mbit/sec connectivity.
• Policies such as "Tigrihuppe" and "EstWin" in Estonia have been highly successful in promoting strong, innovative digital economies within some European member states. Outside of the European Union, governments in Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan have been responsible for developing digital infrastructures delivering unequaled connections speeds and widespread internet access.
• Promotion of the Digital Economy as one of the priorities of the recent Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
• The success of organizations such as CoderDojo in cultivating the necessary skills to compete in the ICT sector from an early age.

YFG calls on:

• The Irish Government to focus on developing ICT skills through education at as early a stage as possible with a particular emphasis on programming.
• The targeting of Government funding towards the development of high quality, high speed internet networks throughout Ireland targeting 90% connectivity rate by 2020 with average connection speeds of 100Mbits/s. Support should also be given to the development of technology sharing networks in technologies interlinked with the digital economy such as 3D printing.
• The Irish government to support the development of a common policy for data protection across the European Union, removing a major bureaucratic barrier to innovators in the European Union.
• The promotion of ICT careers and education courses targeting young people.

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