Socio-economic analysis highlights that due to an over-reliance on health, education and retail there will be a need for an on-going and concerted focus on skills development and job creation in key growth sectors, particularly those that contribute to higher levels of productivity and improved wage levels (such as digital media)
It also highlights that the rural Derry City & Strabane District Council area has a number of significant strengths/assets to build upon, including: a strategic location; advanced telecommunications; a youthful demographic profile; established and emerging economic clusters; and relatively low operating costs.
However, there is an existing disconnect with the wider economic (rural) hinterland, exacerbated by factors such as social exclusion (lower attainment rates within the rural workforce) and access to services (particularly transport and digital connectivity).
Unless these issues of rural exclusion are addressed many of the anticipated benefits of the Derry City and Strabane District Council Strategic Growth Plan (2019) will not be achieved.
Arising from a review of both relevant policy and key socio economic statistics, at a minimum there is a need for rural proofing of all policies/delivery mechanisms. However this alone may not be sufficient to address a perceived imbalance between rural and urban economies, rather more permanent structures and programmes may need to be put in place.