The Mid-West region has shown excellent progress in employment levels since the launch of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017. From Q1 2015 (baseline year) to Q4 2018, a total of 14,700 more people are now in employment in the Mid-West region.
From Q1 2015 (baseline year) to Q4 2018, unemployment has more than halved in the Mid-West region falling from 12 percent to 5.6 percent.
We remain committed to achieving an overall jobs uplift of between 10 and 15 per cent in each region by 2020 and to bring and/or maintain unemployment levels in each region to within at least one percentage point of the State average.
To that end, in April 2018, I asked all the Regional Action Plan for Jobs Implementation Committees, including the Mid-West region, to start a process to refresh and refocus all Regional Plans to ensure their relevance and impact out to 2020, so that they continue to deliver jobs across the country, in every region, and are robust enough to address the challenges we face, including Brexit.
The outcome of this refresh process is nine new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020, which build on the very strong progress made on employment creation under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017. I am currently in the process of launching the new Plans, with eight Plans launched to date, including for the Mid-West.
Shaped from the ‘bottom-up’ by regional stakeholders, and overseen by my Department, the new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 complement national level policies and programmes emanating from the ‘top-down’ and, there is strong alignment with Ireland’s national enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed and the forthcoming Future Jobs Ireland initiative.
The principle behind the Regional Enterprise Plans is collaboration between regional stakeholders on initiatives that can help to realise the region’s enterprise development potential so that all regions can meet and exceed the regional job creation targets set to 2020. These stakeholders include: the Local Authorities, the LEOs, the enterprise agencies, the Regional Skills Forum, tourism bodies, private sector ‘enterprise champions’, and others.
It is also important to note that as well as meeting the numerical targets, it is also about creating jobs that are of good quality and sustainable over the longer term.
The Government is focused on this agenda at the national level through the Future Jobs Ireland initiative, and we are focused on this agenda through these new Regional Enterprise Plans.