EU Intelligent Cities Challenge – A Year of Initiatives, Collaborations, and Initial Success for Derry

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Saverio Romeo, the Lead Expert appointed by the ICC programme, about Derry's progress towards achieving its objectives.
18 November 2021 - DEUICC  project

Saverio Romeo | ICC Lead Expert for Derry

The EU-funded Intelligent Cities Challenge project is one year old. It is approaching its next community event, the 4th City Lab, in which 100+ cities will discuss their developments. The City Lab will be focussed on upskilling and reskilling, and the city of Derry/Londonderry will play a significant role. 

Very soon after the beginning of the project in September 2020, the Northern Ireland city has chosen reskilling and upskilling as the theme to follow. The focus of the Derry/Londonderry ICC team has been twofold in that respect. On one side, the team wanted to focus on the youth and its relationships with high-tech careers in Derry. On the other side, the team aimed to contribute to the upskilling of current workforce in advanced tech. Building on existing projects and expertise in the city, the ICC City Team has developed initiatives that fill gaps or refine and empower existing activities. In doing that, the team has contributed to further glued together an active community of local stakeholders involved in skill development. The ICC Team has also created connections with other cities in Europe (Pori, Guimaraes, others will come) on the same theme, becoming a leading player in the Upskilling and Reskilling ICC Working Group. Finally, The ICC team is exploring with the Council how to allocate resources to specific initiatives that will also impact the outcomes of the City Deal. 

That journey has not been easy and without challenges to overcome. But team and local stakeholders are showing patience and determination. That is paying off with some inspirational activities happening in the city. The ICC team is particularly proud of two achievements. 

  • The research the team conducted at the beginning of the project showed several needs the city has in terms of upskilling and reskilling initiatives. One of those was the need to modernize the construction sector in the city. One way of doing that was to train the sector in the use of digital technologies at all levels of the construction process. The ICC Team then created a link between the construction sector in the city and the North West Regional College to see if there were conditions to develop courses on digital construction. That engagement become an on-going conversation, that, in turn, become a declaration of intent between the two parties. The two parties are now in the process of surveying construction companies for skills needs and developing the courses. 
  • The research also revealed the need to empower the activities towards the youth in Derry around the idea that the city was the perfect place for a career in the technology sector. The ICC Team proposed to run a campaign with that objective. The Skill Team at Derry Council took our indication seriously. They recently launched a series of videos that show young people enjoying living in Derry and working in the tech sector.

The Derry ICC Team continues working on initiatives and finding resources for further developments. The team appreciate the endurance of stakeholders, who are eager to work on them. They have inspired the team and they deserve the support. The ICC Team is focussed on that and on impacting skill policies and initiatives in Derry/Londonderry.

Click here to email  Ianire Renobales at ERNACT for further information

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