On 10 March 2019, I, along with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, launched Future Jobs Ireland 2019: Preparing Now for Tomorrow's Economy.
Future Jobs Ireland 2019 is the first in a series of annual reports as part of a new multi-annual framework to ensure our enterprises and workers are resilient and prepared for future challenges and opportunities. This is a whole-of-Government approach, which will form a key part of Ireland’s economic agenda over the medium term.
Future Jobs Ireland focuses on five key Pillars, namely:
1. Embracing Innovation and technological change;
2. Improving SME productivity;
3. Enhancing skills and developing and attracting talent;
4. Increasing participation in the labour force; and
5. Transitioning to a low carbon economy.
Future Jobs Ireland 2019 sets out 26 core Ambitions under these Pillars.
The Ambitions under the first Pillar, Embracing Innovation and Technological Change, are:
- Position Ireland as a leading pioneer in technology adoption by investing in demonstrator sites and developing enabling frameworks and standards
- Implement a strategic approach to maximise the benefits from digitalisation
- Position the Public Service to be a leader in technology adoption and innovation
- Establish Top Teams to realise opportunities presented by technological changes and the move to a low carbon economy
- Increase the capacity of SMEs to engage in research, development & innovation
- Incentivise SMEs to invest in new technologies
- Develop Transition Teams to assist workers and sectors likely to be most challenged by our changing economy
In terms of the second Pillar, Improving SME Productivity, the Ambitions are:
- Diversify our enterprise base to ensure the Irish economy is more resilient and adaptable
- Stronger policy focus on productivity as a driver of economic prosperity
- Enhance business framework conditions for firm creation and growth
- Encourage enterprises to exploit technology and business process improvements to increase productivity
- Improve leadership and management skills in SMEs
- Strengthen linkages between SMEs and multinational enterprises and our tertiary education institutions
The Ambitions for Pillar 3, Enhancing Skills and Developing and Attracting Talent, are:
- Provide high quality and timely education and training responses to evolving enterprise and skills needs
- Encourage lifelong learning and upskilling
- Foster participation in apprenticeship and traineeship programmes
- Compete successfully for international talent
- Improve career guidance and advice provision
Pillar 4, Increasing Participation in the Labour Force, includes the following Ambitions:
- Encourage participation in the labour force through high-quality Early Learning and Care
- Foster participation in the labour force through flexible working solutions
- Improve incentives to participate in the labour force
- Encourage adult dependents and beneficiaries of other full-time welfare payments to engage in activation, enter and/or stay in the workforce
- Undertake promotional campaigns to encourage greater levels of participation in the labour force
Finally, the Ambitions under the fifth Pillar, Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy, are:
- Become a leader in adopting and developing standards in the low carbon economy
- Realise the opportunities for economic activity and job creation
- Leverage Ireland’s natural resources, enterprise strengths and innovative capacity to be a global leader in the circular and bio economy
Each Ambition is backed up by a set of specific Deliverables representing crucial steps and commitment toward achieving these medium-term Ambitions.
These Deliverables are built on engagement, including through a National Summit held in November 2018, which brought Government and stakeholders together to discuss the Pillars within Future Jobs Ireland, and informed by empirical evidence. The Deliverables outlined in Future Jobs Ireland 2019 represent the first steps in achieving these Ambitions and will be built on in subsequent annual editions.
Future Jobs Ireland is a Government priority and will be overseen by a Cabinet committee (Cabinet Committee A) which will have a standing agenda item regarding Future Jobs Ireland. This committee will be supported by a grouping of senior officials across Government Departments (Senior Officials Group A).
In recognition that Future Jobs Ireland is a medium-term framework, high level targets for 2025 have been set for each Pillar. More discrete metrics and targets have also been established for each deliverable. Each deliverable will have an agreed delivery date of Quarter 1, 2, 3 or 4. Many deliverables involve collaboration between departments, so a lead department is assigned ownership for reporting and coordinating contributors. Partnering contributors are identified along with the leading Department.
Progress on deliverables will be reported quarterly to the Senior Official Group through the Department of the Taoiseach, assisted by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to ensure an ongoing whole-of-government focus on delivery. Biannually, more detailed progress reports will be made to Government and subsequently published. One of these reports will be an annual report detailing the progress made based on targets and metrics.