The Government today (Thursday) published the Action Plan for Jobs 2015, the next step in the multi-annual process aimed at delivering full employment by 2018.
The Plan is the fourth annual plan in a multi-year process which started in early 2012, and sets out in detail the 382 actions to be taken by 16 Government Departments and over 60 State Agencies during 2015 to support job-creation, with deadlines and lead responsibility assigned. Building on the success of previous plans, the 2015 plan includes six new Disruptive Reforms.
The 2015 plan was launched today at the global headquarters of ICON plc, an Irish multinational company which employs 11,000 people in 38 countries, including 1000 in Ireland. ICON also announced the creation of 200 innovation jobs which are part-funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.
Three years ago in February 2012, at a very different time for employment in Ireland, the Government launched the first Action Plan for Jobs at ICON’s headquarters with a target at that time of delivering an extra 100,000 jobs by 2016, a target which will be delivered upon during 2015, over 12 months early.
Among the headline measures to be delivered in 2015 through the Action Plan for Jobs are:
- Regions – Regional Enterprise Strategies to be rolled out shortly across the country – including competitive funding initiatives of up to €25million, aimed at encouraging stakeholders in each region to cooperate to develop projects to support enterprise and job-creation in their area
- Startups – new measures to deliver on ambitious targets for job-creation by start-ups, including a new SURE tax incentive to provide funding for people starting businesses, and a Start Up Gathering to be held in Ireland during 2015
- Red tape – cut red tape by reducing the administrative burden of 750,000 business interactions with Government in 2015, and by delivering a streamlined online system for applying for 29 retail licenses in early 2015
- Skills – a National Talent Drive, including a 60% increase in the number of ICT graduates from the higher education system by 2018
- Innovation – make Ireland a European leader for intellectual property activities by business – including doubling by 2018 the number of patents, industrial designs registered and other measurable IP activities by businesses in Ireland. Also establishment during 2015 of a National Health Innovation Hub
- Energy – Ireland will become Europe’s Energy Innovation Hub by 2020 – by becoming a world leader in key parts of the innovative energy sector we will attract more mobile investment and develop more Irish businesses
- Exports – Over 27,000 new jobs in exporting companies during 2015, supported by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. Exports by Irish companies supported by EI to hit record €19billion during 2015
- Awareness – target increased awareness among business of Government supports available to help them, through a campaign centred around www.actionplanforjobs.ie , which will go live shortly
- Competitiveness and productivity – measures to support improved competitiveness and productivity, including a €39million fund for businesses to make savings in energy and a new focus by the National Competitiveness Council on concrete measures that can deliver specific improvements
- Domestic economy – an increased focus on job-creation in the domestic economy, including measures to support the retail, construction and agriculture sectors
Another crucial innovation contained in the 2015 plan, in response to observations on the Action Plan for Jobs process provided by the OECD during 2014, is a new approach to assessing the impact of the measures, which is built into the Plan. The OECD in an official review of the APJ process in April 2014 endorsed the process, calling it “an important innovation in Irish governance”.
The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD said: “ICON’s announcement of 200 new jobs divided between Leopardstown and Limerick is particularly fitting today because of the special focus in this year’s Action Plan for Jobs on regional economic development. As part of the Action Plan, a number of Government agencies will be shortly outlining their regional enterprise plans to map out what they will do to help create new jobs across Ireland. This is an essential part of our plan to ensure the recovery is felt nationwide and leads to balanced economic development. As we continue to plot the path to full employment in 2018, I expect that next year we will see more Irish people returning home to take up jobs than those leaving. This will be an important turning point in our economic recovery.”
The Tánaiste, Joan Burton TD said: “We are making very significant progress in getting people back to work, but we want to increase the momentum. So we are introducing further schemes to assist jobseekers return to employment, including the Back to Work Family Dividend. Under the scheme, jobseekers returning to work will retain the element of the welfare payment which they receive for their children. It means that, over two years, a family with one child will receive additional support of €2,324 to supplement wages. A family with two children will receive €4,649, those with three children will get €6,973, while those with four or more will get €9,298. This is very valuable assistance and will help families build towards financial independence over time.”
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: “When we visited ICON to launch the first Action Plan for Jobs in early 2012, unemployment was at 15.1% and the numbers at work had collapsed. Today as we come back to launch our fourth annual Action Plan for Jobs, while we have a very long way to go, we have made important progress with 80,000 extra people at work and unemployment down to 10.6%. And ICON – a genuine Irish multinational, a great example of what we are trying to achieve through our plan – is also making major progress, announcing today an extra 200 jobs, roughly half in Dublin and half in the Mid West. If we continue to implement our plan, people can have confidence that we can continue to create jobs – which is what will allow us to grow tax revenues, put money back in people’s pockets, deliver better services, and ultimately improve people’s lives”.
The Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD said: “Work should always pay and my role in the Action Plan for Jobs is to ensure that the jobs being created now are decent jobs, with decent pay and decent conditions. That is part of my dignity of work agenda. We will progress this agenda through, among other initiatives, the establishment of the Low Pay Commission shortly to recommend the National Minimum Wage and a study into the prevalence and impact of zero hour and low hour contracts.”
The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD said: “The aim of the National Talent Drive and our policy on research and innovation is to maintain Ireland’s strong international position, deliver the right skills, and ensure that Irish companies remain strong on international markets. Hitting our ambitious full-employment target in 2018 means, for example, that existing enterprises have talented teams, and that our enterprises of the future emerge from entrepreneurs equipped with world class talents. Action Plan for Jobs 2015 is the strategy that can deliver all of this over the coming months and years.”