Job Creation – Key Government Priority for 2013

January 11th, 2013 - Pat Breen

Reacting to the end of the year live register figures in East Clare, Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen said that “The end of year live register figures (Nationally) indicate that the unemployment situation is stabilising with 12,000 less on the register compared to last year. While the overall figures in East Clare confirm this trend, the number of young people Under 25 on long term employment is a source of concern. Traditionally the live register peaks during the summer months when College Students sign on, however, the collapse of the Construction Sector has had a huge bearing on youth employment. Quite a number of young people left School early to work in Construction and they are now finding it very difficult to get back into the employment market as they do not have the right skills to match the employment opportunities.

Creating job opportunities, particularly for our young people is a key objective of this Government. During our EU Presidency, we will be placing job creation at the top of the EU political agenda. Already, the EU Commission has signalled its intention to bring forward proposals to combat youth unemployment and discussions on these proposals will be prioritised during our Presidency.

Our Government is not sitting on our laurels. Recognising the need for our workforce to have the right skills to match the new employment opportunities which are arising, we are providing an additional 6,500 places for the long-term unemployed in education and training places. Under the initiative “Momentum” which is administered by FAS and funded by the Department of Education and Skills through the ESF support Labour Market Education and Training Fund, a huge range of programmes will be provided by 36 education and training providers in the Public and private Sector. They will focus on the expanding areas of ICT, digital media, healthcare and social services, the green economy, food processing and sales and marketing.

We are also planning a range of activation projects which will be tailored specifically for those aged under 25. Helping the long term employed access high quality and economically relevant training opportunities will help to turn around our jobs market. More than 13,600 new jobs were created by Irish exporting companies last year, the highest net gain in jobs in Enterprise Ireland supported companies since 2006. Our Action Plan for Jobs which set ambitious targets for the IDA job creation and new investments in 2012 have also been met and indeed surpassed with the IDA creating 6,570 net new jobs last year, the highest number since 2002.

We are making progress and jobs are being created, what we need now is to have our workforce restrained and skilled to take up the new opportunities which are arising. We also need to ensure that we continue to support our SME Sector. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, creating one, two and three jobs, which are so important. The measures combined in the 10 point reform plan for the SME Sector introduced by the Finance Minister Michael Noonan in Budget 2013 will help these SME’s to improve their cash flow, help them access funding, boost demand for their products in new markets and incentivise them to create jobs.

Traditionally a large number of people from the East Clare area have worked in Shannon Airport or in tourism related businesses in the East Clare area. Given the reduced tourism activity following the reduction in access into Shannon Airport over the past number of years, tourism providers in East Clare have witnessed a sharp decline in visitor numbers to the area. However, the outlook for 2013 is far more positive. The New Airport Structure at Shannon Airport together with the Gathering Tourism Initiative will see new routes and additional capacity available into Shannon Airport and this additional access into Shannon Airport will have a positive spin off for tourism providers in East Clare.

Creating new jobs and bringing our finances into balance are essential as we tackle our unemployment levels. Over the next 12 months, this will be the top priority for our Government and I am very hopeful that the progress we have already made in creating new jobs in 2012 can be improved upon in 2013.”