Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Questions (1211)

Gerald Nash


1211. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has consulted with the Minister for Education and Skills with regard to report No. 19 of the NESC; if they have discussed plans to engage the higher education institutions in identifying and providing mechanisms for delivery of critical skills as identified by the NESC report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5477/20]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

In a response to a request from the Government, the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) has published Report No.19: ‘Addressing Employment Vulnerability as Part of a Just Transition in Ireland’. This very comprehensive report presents an examination of the vulnerability for workers, firms and sectors to the transition to a low-carbon and more digital, automated future.

In framing it recommendations, NESC sets out the proposed drivers to the Government’s response to the employment vulnerability created by transitions. These drivers are: continuous, pre-emptive workforce development; building resilient enterprises; and delivering high-impact targeted funding to support transition. The 12 strategic recommendations, in turn, address issues pertaining to policy, implementation and communication. These include increasing Ireland’s ambition for workforce development, extending appropriate enterprise supports to viable but vulnerable firms, and examining the inclusion of social clauses in relevant state transition funding.

The Council’s report underlines the importance of lifelong learning, training and education, effective support for viable but vulnerable companies, and ensuring that funding has the greatest possible local impact.

The transition to a low-carbon and more digital, automated future will present challenges to Ireland’s economy and labour market, particularly for vulnerable but viable firms and their employees. My Department will continue to work with the Departments for Education and Skills and Business, Enterprise and Innovation on the development of the labour force and providing opportunities for jobseekers, as the economy transitions to a low carbon and more digital automated future.

Officials from my Department are continuing to engage with the Department of Education and Skills on how best to engage the higher education institutions and to provide for the delivery of the skills identified as being critical in Report No. 19 by the NESC.