Future Jobs Ireland 2019 sets out 26 medium-term Ambitions under five Pillars, each backed up by a set of specific Deliverables representing crucial steps toward achieving these Ambitions. These Deliverables are built on an extensive consultation process, including the national Future Jobs Summit. The Deliverables for 2019 represent the first stage of Future Jobs Ireland which will be built on in subsequent annual editions.
The Future Jobs Summit was held on 22nd November last. The purpose of the Summit was to bring together key stakeholders from academia, Government, industry, representative bodies, semi-State bodies and other interested parties with a view to exchanging ideas around the key themes in Future Jobs Ireland. The Summit saw over 200 participants engage directly with me and some of my Ministerial colleagues to help shape the Ambitions and Deliverables in Future Jobs Ireland 2019. Representatives from InterTradeIreland were invited to attend this Summit and contribute to these discussions.
Representatives from InterTradeIreland were also invited to, and attended, a Stakeholder Seminar shortly after the launch of Future Jobs Ireland 2019. This Seminar included an open discussion session providing attendees the opportunity to voice their initial thoughts on Future Jobs Ireland.
As we begin the development of the next iteration, Future Jobs Ireland 2020, my officials have met with InterTradeIreland as part of a Roundtable meetings with our enterprise agencies. My officials are currently in the process of arranging a bilateral with InterTradeIreland to hear their suggestions for potential inclusion in Future Jobs Ireland 2020, or other future editions, as we consider how we can build upon cross-border collaboration to support this important policy framework.
InterTradeIreland, who is jointly funded by my Department and its Northern Ireland counterpart, the Department for the Economy, aims to support businesses, through innovation and trade initiatives, to take advantage of North South co-operative opportunities, driving competitiveness, jobs and growth. InterTradeIreland helps small businesses explore new cross-border markets, develop new products, processes and services and become investor ready. The body provides practical cross-border business funding, business intelligence and supports to SMEs. InterTradeIreland also has a key role to play in protecting North-South trade in the context of Brexit, as the body is uniquely well-positioned when it comes to understanding the needs of businesses on both sides of the border.
I fully recognise the important work that InterTradeIreland do in terms of supporting small businesses, particularly in the border region and it was for this very reason that I increased the ITI budget by 18% / €1m for 2019.