Addressing Council’s Business & Culture committee, the Ballyarnett representative said: “The issues facing this council area are well known and well documented.
“Unfortunately, we’re plagued with high unemployment, high economic inactivity and low wage levels and that leads to poverty and deprivation which in turn leads to poor health outcomes and poor educational outcomes which further impact employment and employability.
“It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken once and for all. And improving skills will reverse that trend. It’s not a silver bullet.
“If we fix the skills issue our problems are not going to be solved overnight but we need to build for the future.
“But this can’t be done in isolation. There’s no point in making people more employable if there are no job vacancies to fill. And that’s why we need to see definitive action from the Economy Minister.
“We need to see a specific plan from the new minister Gordon Lyons and we need to see strict targets for Invest NI in terms of foreign direct investment and job creation.”
Cllr Farrell concluded: “At our last meeting it was rumoured that someone from the Department for the Economy would be at September’s meeting of this committee.
“It’ll be interesting to see if the new minister attends.
“He may view this as a lion’s den but we need to see action that results in more jobs and better jobs.”