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Applying Old Economy Skills to Smart Economy

So Ireland has a big issue – thousands of jobs have been lost from the construction industry and it’s related services industries. Financial institutions are losing jobs on a regular basis from the knock-on effect. But we have a strong SME sector that has seen increasing exports abroad. Now we need more of that.

So how do we solve these seemingly unrelated issues? Well, many in the higher end of financial services and construction (engineering, architecture) have the basic skills that COULD be applied to the smart economy or at least the SME end. We won’t be able to turn them all into entrepreneurs despite our best efforts, but we can upskill them and get them into SME’s. The problem with being in an SME (and I started my career in one) is that they more than often focus on getting to the end of the month without going out of business. Cashflow is king and the current banking system isn’t helping them in that. So talking about export markets and new products is fine if you are IBM or Microsoft, who have the time and money to invest. SME’s don’t.

But we can look at attaching these ‘old economy’ people (with some specific additional skills) to these companies, in a way that doesn’t put any additional financial stress onto the SME in question. If we can do that, we may be able to leverage the huge human resources we have basically lying around and not contributing to the economy at the moment. If these people can prove their worth to the SME sector, they will get kept on the long run.

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