Government launches Mid-West Action Plan for Jobs, part of €250million regional jobs strategy

Monday 19th October 2015: The Government today launched the Mid-West Action Plan for Jobs, aimed at delivering 10-15% employment growth in the region by 2020.

Publish Date: Monday 19th October 2015

- Successful implementation of Plan for Limerick, Clare and Tipperary would see creation of 23,000 extra jobs in the region – Minister Bruton

The Government today launched the Mid-West Action Plan for Jobs, aimed at delivering 10-15% employment growth in the region by 2020.

The Plan is the fourth of 8 regional jobs plans to be published as part of a new €250million regional jobs strategy led by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD.

Developing bespoke jobs plans for each of the 8 regions is born out of the success of the national Action Plan for Jobs (APJ) process, which has harnessed the efforts of national Government Departments and agencies, and the ambition to see every region realise its potential for jobs and enterprise growth. Key to the future success of the APJ Regional approach is that each Plan is specific to its area and is developed and driven by the Region itself with national Government facilitating and providing funding support where necessary.

Having suffered very badly during the crisis unemployment has now fallen from 16% when the first national Action Plan was launched to 11.2% this year. Numbers in work have started to steadily increase, with agency lead jobs growing by 9% between 2011 and 2014.

The challenge for this Regional Action Plan is to build on that success and target growth in key sectors of potential like Aviation, Lifesciences, Engineering, Internationally Traded Services and Tourism. If the potential of these sectors is harnessed properly an extra 23,000 jobs can be added by 2020.

Key targets of the Plan include;

  • Increase by at least 25% the number of startups in the region, through targeted initiatives and programmes to support enterprise – among other measures, a specific Competitive Feasibility Fund for the Mid-West to assist start-ups will be run in 2015
  • Increase employment in the existing base of companies by strengthening their capacity to scale up their business and win new markets. The existing base of over 1,000 enterprises supported by the agencies, which now employ over 30,000 people will be a particular focus of this effort
  • Attract more investment to the region: over the next 5 years, IDA is aiming for a 30% to 40% uplift in projects, to a total of 66 investments within the region plus deliver on an new IDA Advance Technology Building in Limerick in 2017.
  • Strengthen the important sectoral clusters in the region: Aviation, Lifesciences, Engineering and Internationally Traded Services
  • Increase the value of agri-food exports by 85% by 2025 by supporting food start-ups to grow and scale and enhancing the marketing of the region's food and beverage products
  • Grow overseas tourist numbers in the Mid-West to 1.26 million by 2025, increase overseas tourism revenue in the Mid-West to €375million by 2025, and grow employment in the sector by 25% to 2025
  • A comprehensive implementation structure, with senior private sector partners driving the process, is being established to ensure delivery of the plan

The levels of employment growth actually achieved by the Plan will depend on the level of support and collaboration within the local community for the Plan, and the level of collaboration between organisations in the region and the main Government bodies involved in the Plan. Minister Bruton believes that based on all the evidence and the strong buy-in for the process up to this point it is realistic to target 23,000 additional jobs in the Region by 2020.

Launching the plan today, Minister Bruton said: “Thanks to the hard work and resilience of the Irish people we are now seeing a recovery that is bringing jobs to every region. However, some regions are growing quicker than others and that is why we have started developing tailored Regional Action Plans for each part of the country that will allow those regions achieve their full potential for jobs."

“The Mid-West suffered more than others during the crisis. Since the crisis began the Region lost almost 25,000 jobs. It is only in the last couple of years that the tide has been turned with more than 4,000 new jobs added in the last year alone. This fuels our strong conviction that a region with as many strengths as the Mid-West can, and will, grow more jobs."

“I am convinced that with the right support from Government through the Mid-West Plan, and by continuing the collaborative approach right across the region, we can deliver 23,000 extra jobs over the coming years. This would be 23,000 extra pay packets coming into communities and 23,000 lives back on track and get us back to a level of employment in the Region ahead of that which existed at the end of 2007. That is a real challenge, but it is a goal well worth fighting for”.

Speaking at the launch today in LIT, Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan said “The budget that I announced last week is designed to spread recovery to families in every region of the country and the Mid-West Action Plan for Jobs is an important means to ensure that the recovery is felt in every region and by every community. Every job created puts money back in people’s pockets. The Mid-West Region is a strong region with great potential and the Government’s is fully committed to continue to create the right environment for jobs growth."

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly TD said: "Twice in recent history the Mid-West has suffered major economic shocks - the closure of Ferenka back in the 1970s and the loss of jobs in manufacturing in Dell. However the Mid-West responded to both of these. This is thanks in no small part to the great third-level institutions, the history of innovation, access through a newly independent Shannon airport and  a dynamic agri-food sector. The Mid-West is beginning to reach its potential again".

Welcoming the Mid-West Action Plan for Jobs Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan said, “This strategy will drive the momentum behind job creation and investment in the Mid West region. In Limerick alone in the last 18 months more than 2000 high quality jobs have been announced. While this is welcome progress our unemployment rate remains too high."

“The Action Plan for Jobs gives us a coherent, targeted approach. It utilises all the resources and talents of the region and I am particularly pleased to see the prominent role that education institutes in the region will play. Talent and skills are becoming the key drivers for economic growth and the quality of UL, LIT and other colleges and education centres in the region will be an important factor in winning new investment and providing jobs."

“As part of the process to develop this Plan the education providers have already come together with business groups, EI and IDA and other key stakeholders in the Mid-West to establish the Shannon Region Skills Forum. Building on successful collaborations like “Limerick for IT” this new Forum will provide a framework for employers and the education providers to work together in a more systematic way in building the skills base of the Mid-West.” 

Download the Action Plan for Jobs: Mid West Region 2015-2017 here.

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