Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Foster: Innovative approaches needed to recruit and retain quality professionals in rural areas

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed over 80 health care professionals from across Europe to Enniskillen for the final conference of the Recruit and Retain project.

The project aims to identify solutions to the challenge of recruiting and retaining high quality staff to work in the public sector, particularly in the field of healthcare in rural areas of Northern Europe. 

Opening the event, the Minister said: “As a public representative for a rural constituency, I recognise the key role that access to good quality infrastructure and services can play in ensuring that highly skilled professionals chose to locate and remain in remote and rural areas. That is one of the reasons why my Department has invested and continues to invest in the development of the telecommunications networks and extending the quality and reach of broadband services here.”

The recruit and retain project focuses on putting mechanisms in place to allow front line health care providers to be identified, encouraged, trained and supported to work in a remote rural community. Finding innovative solutions to deal with rural broadband issues is a key area in the project.

The Minister added: “My Department has long recognised the importance of Northern Ireland’s digital infrastructure in supporting the delivery of digital services to the population and, through its interventions, has facilitated a network which has the highest density of fibre in Europe.

“My officials have also been working with organisations and individuals across Omagh and Fermanagh as it delivers the SMART Regions pilot initiative which aims to use technology to capture, analyse and manage data to increase the competitiveness and improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the region.”

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