Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
97. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent to which he remains satisfied that job opportunities will be restored as soon as possible to pre-pandemic levels; the actions already in hand in this regard or contemplated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30161/21]
Our Economic Recovery Plan published this week sets an ambitious target to exceed pre-crisis employment levels by having 2.5 million people in work by 2024 and in more productive and resilient jobs. The Plan commits to a range of supports and policies that will invest in businesses and workers; help people get back into work, training or education; provide enhanced support for sectors that will lag behind and invest in infrastructure and reforms that enhance our capability and long-term capacity for growth.
As SMEs account for over two thirds of total employment, a strong focus on indigenous SMEs is critical to a jobs-led recovery. The Government is pursuing a two-pronged recovery approach; a focus on domestic SMEs, whilst leveraging and reinforcing the enormous strength and resilience of the Foreign Direct Investment sector in Ireland and its indispensable contribution to communities across the country.
The twin decarbonisation and digitalisation transition and associated behavioural changes will profoundly alter the economy. Embracing these transitions will also open up substantial new opportunities for businesses and support significant job creation. Automation will have both positive and negative implications, however, the emerging consensus is that more occupations will change than will be automated away. Innovation, collaboration and knowledge are the cornerstone of a sustainable growth model and a prosperous renewed economy equipped to excel in a changing world. The education, training and research sectors will be supported to shift up a gear to rise to the challenge.
In building towards recovery, it must be recognised that not all previous jobs will return, while capacity constraints may emerge in other areas. Our Economic Recovery plan also commits to further strengthen Ireland’s Skills Framework and architecture to ensure people are supported to secure and remain in sustainable and quality employment through opportunities to reskill and upskill. This will include a comprehensive review of Ireland’s skills strategies and approaches, including the National Skills Strategy 2016-2025; developing a web-based “Skills Platform”, for upskilling and reskilling opportunities; and developing Ireland’s Pact for Skills, between businesses and government, to ensure those with low and no qualifications are not excluded from employment.
The Government is committed to creating the right environment for a jobs-led recovery by helping business become more resilient and agile, by increasing Ireland’s competitiveness, and through a focus on expanding sectors.