The Government will today launch the West Action Plan for Jobs, aimed at delivering 10-15% employment growth in the region over the coming years.
The Plan is the fifth of 8 regional jobs plans to be published over the coming months, as part of a new €250 million regional jobs strategy led by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD. Following several difficult years since the crash, employment in the West has returned to growth, with 5,000 (3%) extra people at work over the past twelve months . During the years 2008-2011 27,400 jobs (13.3%) were lost in the region. The plan launched today targets employment growth of 10-15% over and above today’s employment levels.
The West Plan covers counties Mayo, Roscommon and Galway. Key sectors targeted as part of the plan include agri-food, tourism, medtech, ICT and pharma. Among the 194 actions in the plan to be delivered over the period 2015-2017 include:
· Achieve an increase of at least 25% in the number of start-ups in the region, and a 25% improvement in the survival rate of new businesses.
· Increase jobs in export-led sectors by 20% across the region by 2020.
· Increase the number of IDA investments in the region by 30-40% up to 2019. This will result in a minimum of 92 additional projects for the West region by 2019. As part of this, IDA will build advance facilities in Castlebar (completion 2016) and Galway (completion 2017)
· The Local Enterprise Offices will disburse over €3million in grant funding, and provide mentoring support to over 1000 businesses per year
· Create 540 extra jobs in Gaeltacht regions in life sciences, mariculture and food, supported by Udarás
· Establish a Regional Skills Forum to ensure the flow of critical skills to enterprises in the region
· Create a food innovation hub and a dedicated food innovation centre in the region, and help food companies with high potential to scale
· New programme to build on the success of the Wild Atlantic Way, by building out new tourism offerings and deliver new opportunities for the region
· New traineeships in engineering, hospitality, logistics & transport and TV & film sectors
· A series of actions to develop the marine research and ocean energy industries in the region
· Creative industries – a new €2million INTERREG project to support the creative industries, and a targeted micro-loan fund for the creative industries disbursed by the Western Development Commission
· Target the increased participation of women in entrepreneurship, including through the Local Enterprise Offices and a Galway Chamber Female Entrepreneurship Programme focusing on growing and scaling enterprise.
· Implementation – a comprehensive implementation structure is being established to ensure delivery of the plan.
The levels of employment growth actually achieved within that range will depend on factors including 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 25,000 additional jobs in the region by 2020.
The Taoiseach said: “While the recovery has begun to take hold across the country, we are keenly aware that it is not yet felt by every family. Jobs are now growing in every region of Ireland including here in the West and we are determined to make sure that this recovery is felt behind the door of every home. This West Action Plan, the fifth of eight regional plans, will help further spread the benefits of a rising economy and bring jobs here to the West.
“The plan sets out a clear pathway to unlock the potential of the region and is very inclusive. No single agency can bring jobs to a region – this takes collaboration and that is at the heart of this plan. Local Enterprise Offices, tourism bodies, agri-food bodies and the national enterprise agencies will all work with local stakeholders to provide the best supports possible to help enterprise invest in the West.
“This Government will continue to secure the recovery and grow jobs across the regions. The people of Ireland and this region deserve huge credit for the progress made to date and I look forward to positive news on jobs figures in the West in the future”.