Thursday, 12 October 2017
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
33. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the measures she is taking to address the low job quality in new employment growth in County Wexford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43169/17]
Delivering sustainable employment and higher standards of living for all is the core objective of enterprise policy as set out by my Department in Enterprise 2025.
The enterprise agencies IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, together with the Local Enterprise Offices are focused on the creation of quality employment, taking into account the multidimensional aspects that define quality: ensuring opportunities for advancement that includes workplace learning and development; ensuring that people are educated and trained to meet the needs of industry; recognizing the opportunities presented by entrepreneurship as an alternative career path.
IDA positions the South East in the market place as an investment location with a strong ecosystem of both indigenous and multinational companies operating across a diverse range of sectors, including clusters in the Life Sciences and Financial Services/Business Services sectors, and strong FDI Engineering manufacturing businesses.
Wexford is home to 17 existing IDA Ireland clients who between them employ almost 2,630 people in a range of manufacturing and service operations. Since end 2014, IDA-supported companies have seen a net increase of 127 jobs in Wexford.
IDA is targeting a minimum increase in investment of 30 to 40 percent in the South East region over the period of its strategy to 2019. Additional funding of €150m is also being made available to the IDA to support its Regional Property Programme and drive job creation in the multi-national sector.
Enterprise Ireland companies currently support 20,450 jobs in the South East region, 4,816 of which are based in Wexford. This is an increase of 2,140 since end-2014 for the region, and an increase of 332 for Wexford.
Wexford LEO has supported gross job gains in 2016 of 197 in its client companies. Total employment among LEO Wexford clients was 1,192 at the end of last year.
Key to delivering on the vision set out in Enterprise 2025 is that we optimize the job creation potential of our regions, building on distinctive strengths and assets, and that is the aim of the Regional Action Plans for Jobs launched by my Department in 2015.
These Regional Plans are crucial to meeting the Government’s ambition to create an additional 200,000 jobs, of which 135,000 are outside the Dublin region by 2020.
What the regional action plans can do is get things working from the bottom up, in partnership with the enterprise sector and other regional actors, building and reinforcing local strengths.
The South East Action Plan for Jobs aims to increase employment in the region by 10-15% over the period to 2020, resulting in delivery of 25,000 jobs.
In addition to the FDI investment target increase of 30-40 percent, the South East Plan aims to achieve a 25 percent increase in the number of start-ups in the region, improve the scaling performance of companies by 25 percent and improve the 5 year survival rate of companies by 25 percent.
The Local Authorities, enterprise agencies, and other key public and private sector stakeholders in the region have been strongly involved in, and are key drivers of, the South East Action Plan.
As a result of a focused collaborative approach and a range of reforms, there has been a substantial improvement in the South East region since the commencement of the National Action Plan for Jobs in 2012, with an additional 33,600 in employment in Q2 2017 compared to Q1 2012.
There are now 13,000 more people in work in the region since the launch of the Regional Action Plan initiative in Q1 2015.
The sectors which showed the highest employment growth since 2015 were Construction, Professional, scientific and technical activities and the Hospitality sector.
In addition, the unemployment rate in the South East region has fallen from 12.8% in Q1 2015 to 8.1% in Q2 of this year
However, there is still work to be done: the unemployment rate in the South East is still over 1 percentage point higher than the (Q2 2017) national average of 6.4%.
To complement the Regional Action Plan for Jobs process, Enterprise Ireland, with the support of my Department, in May, launched a Regional Enterprise Development Fund of up to €60 million to grow and sustain jobs across the regions over a four year period. The Fund aims to support significant regional initiatives, to build on sectoral strengths and to improve enterprise capability. An announcement of successful projects under the first call should take place by year end.