The Government’s primary strategy to tackle long-term unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity through the Action Plan for Jobs. In addition, the Government recognises the need for measures to support the unemployed and keep jobseekers close to the labour market. In this context, the major elements of the Government’s response are set out in Pathways to Work, which is aimed at ensuring that as many as possible of the job vacancies that are created as the economy recovers are filled by people from the Live Register - with a particular focus on those who are long-term unemployed or at risk of long-term unemployment.
The latest Quarterly National Household Survey, published by the Central Statistics Office in February, showed that the number of people in employment increased by 61,000 year-on-year in the fourth Quarter of 2013, net of a reduction of 5,500 people in the public sector. This was the fifth quarter in succession where employment has grown year-on-year.
The 2014 Action Plan for Jobs was published by the Government on 27th February and builds on the 2012 and 2013 Action Plans. This year’s Plan includes targets for Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and the new Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) to support a total of 30,500 direct new jobs during 2014.
Enterprise Ireland (EI) will target the creation of 13,000 new fulltime permanent jobs and target €17.5 billion in exports by client companies in 2014. IDA Ireland will also target 13,000 new gross jobs in 2014 and work to win another 155 new FDI investment projects, with 20% of those from growth markets. In addition, a further 10,000 jobs (6,000 direct and 4,000 indirect) will be created over a five year period. It is expected that these new jobs, will in turn, lead to many thousands of additional jobs in the domestic supply and services industries. EI is focussed on job creation and export growth and offers a broad range of supports for entrepreneurs, start-ups and business growth, in addition to supporting the work of other players, public and private, in stimulating job creation at local and national levels.
With particular regard to Dublin’s Northside, funding for a Business Development Manager was approved for Coolock Enterprise Centre, Ballymun Enterprise Centre, Darndale Belcamp Initiative Ltd, SPADE Enterprise Centre and Balbriggan Enterprise Centre, under the Community Enterprise Centres (CEC) Funding Scheme. A total of 630 people are employed in these five CECs.
In 2013, 50% of the investment announcements made by IDA Ireland were for Dublin and in 2014 to date, there have already been five company announcements for Dublin. Additionally, there have been announcements by four high-growth start-ups for Dublin with a combined total of 102 jobs requiring a variety of skillsets. IDA is actively engaged with its existing client base, existing pipeline clients and key stakeholders such as the HEA, Third Level Institutions, Solas and the Department of Social Protection etc. regarding the provision of the skills required in respect of Foreign Direct Investment.
Dublin City and Fingal County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) can provide supports, both financial and non-financial, to all micro-enterprises in the start-up or expansion phase in manufacturing and services, subject to certain conditions. The soft supports include the provision of business advice, mentoring and training to all clients. The aim is to develop indigenous enterprise potential, stimulate economic activity at local level and promote the establishment of micro-enterprises within their administrative area. Anyone interested in starting or expanding their own business should, in the first instance, contact their local County and City Enterprise Board (CEB). Contact details for the CEBs are available on www.enterpriseboards.ie.
In Budget 2014, the Government has provided a total of €18.5m for the CEBs to support enterprise development, an increase of €3.5m on the Budget 2013 Estimate.