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The key ingredient for future economic strength in Derry is ‘skills, skills, skills’

As another Londonderry Chamber Dinner concludes we reflect on the inspiration and wisdom portrayed through the address made by Chamber President, Gerry Kindlon. To set the scene of the evening the Chamber Dinner 2014 was a spectacular event hosted in the Everglades Hotel, the room décor and ambience hollered the Chamber colours and the sea of voices sounded like ‘Connecting Business Northwest’ at its finest.


President,Gerry Kindlon, opened his speech by stating that ‘In sadder times delivering a President’s address on the ‘Future of Business’ in the Maiden City’ would have been a daunting task but perhaps in recent, better years it’s walls don’t seem to lean quite so far!

Mr Kindlon, had urged Northern Ireland’s politicians to “finish the job” in bringing peace and prosperity to Northern Ireland.  He also urged school pupils, parents and teachers to recognise the skills challenge facing the youngest members of our population.

Gerry said: “This year we heard Bill Clinton challenge Northern Ireland to ‘finish the job’.  Nowhere is the desire or momentum to do so stronger than in this city.  This city is a role model for good leadership driven by a shared dream of a prosperous and peaceful future. It looks forward and business is playing its part.  Our city has a ‘unity of purpose’.”

For Derry to have a successful economy, it must have an integrated society, one which accepts and welcomes people from all communities. The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce believes that a fair and just society is good for business and will partner with anyone who believes the same. Inclusiveness in society and business is a must going forward.  Local businesses will need to attract key skilled talent from other countries to help us grow.  Indigenous businesses will grow trade with others around the world.  We need to understand and accept other cultures. This province’s recent record on multiculturalism is disappointing.  I call on all politicians and civic leaders to do more to improve the situation.

The key ingredient for future economic strength in Derry is “skills,skills, skills,” continued Gerry.

Gerry continued by delving into predictions on the future of work! Did you know the top ten most in demand jobs in the United States last year did not exist?  Within 10 years a machine may well be carrying out 70% of the diagnosis that your GP currently does – and with much greater accuracy.  By 2049, a$1000 dollar computer might exceed the computational capabilities of the entire human species.  All of these predictions were discussed during CultureTECH 2014 from respected industry leaders who were encouraging us all to consider some thought provoking points about the Future of Work.  Today we are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, to solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet.

CultureTECH is this Chamber’s baby.  It is there to give this city a window into the future and to introduce the wider world to the youthful,creative and technical competencies that are present here.  Sixteen thousand young people attended our educational programme this year. CultureTECH is entrepreneurial, inclusive; customer focussed and has a global outlook.  These are the values of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and they are helping us achieve our vision to be at the heart of a creative, innovative, competitive and confident region.  CultureTECH is ‘Made in Derry!  It is an example of how this Chamber is helping its members and society at large prepare for the future.