Pillar 2 of the Government’s recently published Economic Recovery Plan commits to helping people integrate into the workforce, through the provision of opportunities to reskill and upskill, minimising long-term unemployment and supporting individuals to secure sustainable and quality employment. The Plan’s overarching ambition is to have 2.5 million people in work by 2024, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
Youth unemployment across all regions will be a particular focus of the forthcoming Pathways to Work 2021-2025, which will involve intensive work with young people at greater risk of long-term unemployment, in recognition of the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on young people. As part of a new Government Youth Employment Charter, a new ambitious EU Reinforced Youth Guarantee process will see intensive engagement with young jobseekers, and an expanded Jobs Plus scheme, with 8,000 places overall, will continue to provide a higher incentive for the recruitment of young unemployed people across all regions.
Youth unemployment will also be addressed through measures such as the rollout of an additional 50,000 education and training places, a new Work Placement Experience Programme targeted at reaching 10,000 participants, SOLAS’s Recovery Skills Response Programme, and implementation of the new Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025, which will grow new apprentice registrations to 10,000 per annum by 2025.
Ensuring the skills of young people are aligned with the needs of enterprise will complement pillars 3 and 4 of the Economic Recovery Plan, which aims at building sustainable enterprises, through the creation of the right environment for a jobs-led recovery, and at achieving a balanced and inclusive recovery. This will include initiatives to enhance SME productivity, internationalisation, digitalisation and decarbonisation, Ireland’s value proposition for Foreign Direct Investment, and our innovative knowledge economy. The revised National Development Plan, new Housing for All Strategy, retrofit supports, €500m Shared Island Fund and Rural Development Policy will also support a rebalancing of the regions as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
At a regional level, the North West Regional Enterprise Plan, which is now being renewed until 2024, will build upon these commitments and play a central role in supporting balanced regional enterprise development across the North West, including Donegal. It will do so by identifying growth opportunities, recognising vulnerabilities, and in response strengthening the regional enterprise ecosystem to enable job creation, including for the benefit of young people.