David Puttnam says Europe must embrace the digital age

Producer tells Global Cork Economic Forum that countries should rebuild ‘magical ingredient’ of confidence

Oscar winning producer, Lord David Puttnam, has warned that Europe must ride the digital age not drown in it with countries in the continent being urged to cling to each other in order to develop scale.

Speaking at the Global Cork Economic Forum yesterday David Puttnam also stressed that countries which fail to plan for the future tend to do rather badly when they get there.

“We probably agree that although the pace and the scale of change can at times be bewildering, the need to up our own game has become absolute. To make our region a success we need to escape any traditional or residual sense of victimhood and rebuild that magical ingredient of confidence.”

Lord Puttnam, a member of Britain’s House of Lords and a film producer who has lived in Cork for some 20 years, said that reliable broadband connectivity should be as ubiquitous as electricity and water.


He warned that EU predictions are that by 2015 just one job in 10 will not require computer skills.

Lord Puttnam said the European Commission also estimates that there will be up to one million job vacancies in the technology sector in Europe by 2015.

“These are extraordinary opportunities and extraordinary challenges. It also suggests our urgent need to accelerate our ICT learning capacity. We can scarcely afford to imagine the repercussions of anything other than brilliantly equipped 21st century lecture halls and classrooms. To settle for anything else is to risk shortchanging an entire generation.”

He told conference attendees at Cork City Hall that a failure to give young students the advantages they deserve would border on “criminality”.

Lord Puttnam recently travelled through South East Asia to examine the long-term growth prospects of the area from the point of view of trade.

He said individually and collectively countries such as Vietnam and Laos were placing “all of their bets on education”.