New jobs and disposable household income on the rise in Meath and Westmeath – English

Action Plan for Housing, Action Plan for Jobs, Budget 2017, Business, Funding, Housing and Urban Renewal, Jobs, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Trim

Thursday, 23rd March 2017

CSO report shows increases in jobs and disposable household income in
all regions of the country

“Recent CSO data shows that disposable income in Meath and Westmeath
households is on the increase.” That’s according to the Minister for
Housing and Urban Renewal and Meath West T.D. Damien English. Minister
English credits a growing economy, with more people back at work, for
this positive development.

“The most recent CSO data shows that in 2014, all regions across the
country showed increases in disposable household income. Here in Meath
there was a 4.5% increase in disposable household income in 2014
compared to 2013, while in Westmeath the figure was 3.1% which was the
highest for any midland county. This positive development is thanks to
our growing economy, which has seen more people back at work.
Unemployment has fallen to 6.6% down from a high of 15.2% back in
2011. There are now over two million people at work.  But we cannot
rest until we reach full employment again locally and nationally”
Minister English said.

“The increase in disposable income obviously has a positive knock on
effect here in Meath in Westmeath as people have a little more money
in their pockets, which is good news for local businesses and services
and spreads the benefits of recovery to all in society.

“We are seeing the evidence of this in the latest Enterprise Ireland
figures, which show that 200 new full and part-time jobs were
delivered in 2016 by the 207 small businesses in Meath that have been
supported by the Local Enterprise Offices. These businesses support a
total of  927 jobs here in Meath. No doubt they will benefit from this
increase in household disposable income locally, and we will see
further jobs created by small businesses. In Westmeath there were 283
new jobs in 265 Local Enterprise Office supported companies,
delivering a new total of 1,375 jobs at the end of 2016 in this
sector.

“Fine Gael is working hard to build a fair and compassionate society
with thriving communities across every region of Ireland. In order to
do so we must protect and sustain the economic progress we have made,
so that we can use it benefit the people who need it most. That
economic progress has been hard won over the last 6 years. We cannot
afford to throw it all away on other parties who would risk our
recovery.

”Fine Gael is working day and night to ensure that every single family
in Meath and Westmeath sees the benefits of an economy that is growing
strongly once again.”

Census 2016 is the roadmap for the future development of Meath – English

Funding, Meath

Monday, 18th July 2016

The preliminary data published from Census 2016, when backed up by the
full data over the coming year, must be the roadmap for the future
development of Co. Meath, that is the view of the Minister for Housing
and Urban Renewal and local Fine Gael T.D. for Meath West Damien
English.

“I welcome the news that Meath is the fastest growing County in
Ireland with 10,807 new residents, up 5.9%, compared to Dublin at 5.7%
and the rest of the country at 3.7%. This data vindicates the work of
Meath County Council and its Economic Forum in highlight Meath as a
destination of choice to live in, work in and invest in, and I
encourage them to redouble their efforts in the knowledge that Meath
has the right people and the right skills to become the leading County
in the greater Dublin region” stated Minister English.

“In the past I have successfully argued for Meath to get a greater and
fairer share of investment in schools, local roads, health and other key
public services.  This new data sustains and deepens those arguments.
As we move to house and cater for an enhanced population we must do us
so in a sustainable and well planned way, that does not burden us with
problems for the future.  I urge everyone with a stake in the future
of Meath, be it in business, our Local Authority, in the community and
voluntary sector or in any other part of life in Meath to take on
board the data of Census 2016 as it becomes available over the coming
year and use it as our road map for the future of our County”
concluded Minister English.

ENDS

Jobless fall welcome but we cannot pause until we reach full employment again – Minister English

Action Plan for Jobs, Innovation, Jobs, Research, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Startups

Monday, 11th July 2016

Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English T.D. has
welcomed the fall in unemployment nationally from 9.4% in June 2015 to
7.8% in June 2016 gone by, but said that the Government, state
agencies and local County Councils/LEOs cannot pause for a moment
until we reach full employment.

“I welcome the news that unemployment continues to fall.  Indeed it is
now halved since the Great Recession of 2008 struck our country with
all of its dreadful consequences for our people and society.  The next
task is to see this figure being cut in half again with the reaching
of full employment” stated Minister English.

Minister English, who in his previous role in the Department of Jobs,
was a key driver of the Action Plan for Jobs process, along with the
Science Strategy and Skills Strategy, said that continued Research,
Development, Innovation and Education locally in Meath and nationally
were key to keeping job creation on track.  Ireland’s business climate
and its tax rates must remain both competitive and attractive to
investors and to returning Irish people in a post Brexit environment
he said.

“All of the barriers big and small, locally and nationally, to
creating jobs must be identified, examined and removed.  In the early
and mid 2000s we took the recovery for granted in this country and
squandered the boom, we cannot take our eye off the ball this time
until we reach full employment again” concluded Minister English.

Consistent reductions in Meath unemployment will help to keep the economic recovery going – English

Action Plan for Jobs, Jobs, Meath, Startups

Damien English, Fine Gael TD and Mnister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has said that the consistent reductions in the Meath unemployment figures will help to keep the economic recovery going.

“CSO figures for October show that the Live Register has dropped by 35.16% in Meath since the launch of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs in February 2012.  This is the highest drop in the country.

“When this Government took office, we promised to fix the public finances, restore growth in the economy and get people back to work. The task now is to finish the job and keep that recovery going. Crucial to this is continued job creation and the consistent decreases in unemployment since 2012 are certainly helping to keep the economic recovery going in Meath.

“Replicating this all over the country via our Regional Action Plans for Jobs is how this Government will achieve its plan to see all the jobs lost during the economic crisis replaced by 2018.

“Budget 2016 introduced a whole range of pro jobs measures, as it incentivises innovative startups, rewards successful entrepreneurs and makes sure that the jobs that are created will really pay. It reduces the general tax burden which helps businesses create employment. It begins the process of tax equalisation for the self-employed in order to support job creators. The Budget also maintains the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector which will continue to assist small business owners working in the tourism sector, which has been such an integral part of our economic recovery. A modest but significant increase in the minimum wage ensures that work pays more than welfare, while Employers’ PRSI has been adjusted to cater for these wage increases to ensure that neither employees or employers are worse off.

“This Government will work to keep the economic recovery going which helps us to provide better services for all of society. Crucial to this is the ongoing job creation successes we are seeing in Meath and right across the country.”

 

Irish Times Op Ed: Degree not the only path to a decent job

Apprenticeships, Business, Education, I.T., Jobs, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Startups

In the past prejudice stopped many Irish people getting good jobs. We are all familiar with stories of job notices with “No Irish need apply”. Today prejudice is still stopping Irish people getting good jobs, but now it’s our own. There is a widespread but ill-informed attitude in Ireland that sees a university qualification as the only passport to a decent job, and apprenticeships and vocational training as a poor alternative.

In reality there is a very high and growing demand for people with vocational skills. For example, 48,000 people now work in the logistics sector, and over the next five years they will be joined by another 13,500 to 15,500 workers as the sector expands.

The skill levels needed to work in the sector are increasing. Complex computer management systems and highly automated warehouses are all leading to a demand for skilled staff.

Ireland now has one of the highest proportions of people with a third-level degree in the EU. According to Eurostat, more than half of 30- to 34-year-olds (51.1 per cent) in Ireland have completed third level compared to a European average of 35.8 per cent of 30- to 34-year-olds who had completed tertiary education.

The third-level system and the graduates it produces have been key to our economic success. However, problems are beginning to emerge with the current system. The overemphasis on university is stopping thousands of young people from learning saleable skills and building worthwhile careers. Instead they are being encouraged into courses for which they are ill-suited.

One result is that on average 15 per cent of students drop out after first year (22 per cent from ITs, 9 per cent from universities and 4 per cent from teacher-training colleges). This is a waste both of the students’ time, and taxpayers’ and parents’ money.

Overqualified

In addition, a recent OECD report suggests 42 per cent of people in Ireland work in an area that does not match their qualification. This is above the OECD average; more importantly, about half of these people are also defined as overqualified for the jobs they are actually doing. The report estimates the cost of this mismatch to the economy at about €1.5 billion.

There are also growing concerns, among employers, about skill shortages in key areas and graduates who are sometimes not prepared for the real world of work.

We have a very good education system but there are significant gaps in how we build skills in Ireland. Academic ability is not the only valuable talent and not every profession is best learnt in an academic setting. Business needs people with strong practical skills, and apprenticeships and vocational training are key to delivering these.

We need to recalibrate the third-level educational system to focus more on learning by doing and on-the-job training if we are to address these issues.

I believe we have a lot to learn from the German and Swiss models of education. German high-school students have a choice of 344 trades where they do an apprenticeship. In Switzerland 70 percent of all 15- to 19-year-olds participate in an apprenticeship, with a 91 per cent completion rate. Moreover, in the Swiss system apprentices are also able to leapfrog to a degree and about 10 per cent do a baccalaureate or top up their training academically.

As a result both countries have lower levels of youth unemployment and large pools of talented, skilled workers.

I would like to see major moves to strengthen our dual-track third-level education in Ireland: moves designed to develop the talents of all our people, providing students with the skills to thrive in a rapidly changing environment and the opportunity to easily switch tracks as appropriate during their careers.

I want a system where both tracks are equally valued and respected, where a talented student with academic ability may well choose to go down the vocational route because it offers as good, or a better, way to develop their career as the university route does. I would like to see a much more enterprise-responsive education system to provide the skills that students and industry require.

Harmful prejudice

The establishment of Solas, the further education and training authority, has provided a foundation stone on which we can build a real dual system. It is charged with planning, funding, and championing the sector.

For Solas to succeed it needs to focus on talent, excellence and impact. Solas is in the talent business, and Ireland needs skilled workers just as much as it needs skilled graduates. The courses and training it funds must be world class, to persuade students to invest their time, and industry to invest its money in training.

Solas also needs demonstrate, with hard data and case studies, to the market, to students, and not least of all to parents, the impact of its work and the value (and affordability) of vocational training.

This summer, with my colleague Minister Jan O’Sullivan, I announced plans to double the number of apprenticeship schemes by next spring. It will, I hope, be both a first step in the journey to a truly dual system of third-level education and the first nail in the coffin of an outdated and harmful prejudice.

Damien English is Minister of State with special responsibility for skills, research and innovation

Letter to the Editor of the Meath Chronicle: Jobs growth is putting lives back on track locally and nationally

Business, Jobs, Meath, Navan, Startups, Tourism

Friday, 11th September 2015

Jobs growth is putting lives back on track locally and nationally

Dear Editor,

Much of the recent commentary on jobs growth in Ireland ignores the findings of the Central Statistics Office which is independent of Government. There are many myths out there that must be challenged for the sake of fairness. Firstly though I want to say unemployment is still far too high. Whilst much progress has been made, this Government will continue to prioritise job creation until we return to full employment.

The CSO tells us we have had 11 consecutive quarters of jobs growth in Ireland. Total employment is up 126,000 since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in February 2012. Locally here in Meath the Live Register has dropped by 27.7% or 3,229 people since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012, one of the biggest drops in the country.

Of the extra people now at work, 91% of them are full time.  Many of these people have good conditions and prospects. Over 70% are in occupations described as management, professional, technical or skilled tradespersons according to the CSO

Over 52,000 new jobs are in the IDA and EI supported companies where pay is above average.

Commendably, 35,000 people have had the courage to set up new businesses of their own, and we must encourage more of this.

The hospitality sector, which is up 15,000 jobs, does have a higher percentage of lower paid workers. However, this sector also has a really important regional spread of new jobs.

The total number of unemployed now stands at 211,000, or 9.5%, down from a high of 15.1%. The number of long-term unemployed has fallen by 81,000, down almost 60%.

Again, despite the myths, the CSO tells us that 64% of new jobs are outside Dublin.  Employment in IDA companies and in EI companies is growing in every region.

Young people were most severely impacted by the crash. Net emigration among young people peaked at 20,000, but is now down by 56%. In 2015, of the young people who emigrated, only 14% were unemployed before they left, 48% were at work and 30% were students according to the CSO.

The value of education is underlined by the CSO. Those who study beyond 2nd-level have half the unemployment rate of early school leavers.  With 25 new Apprenticeships unveiled by my Department for roll out by 2016, there are now more training options for young and old than ever before, especially for those with a more vocational skillset.

My target as a local T.D., and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, is that everyone who wants a job should have one, and that by 2018, all of the jobs lost in the downturn should be replaced. Every new job means a life, a family and our wider community is back on track.

Yours sincerely,

Damien English T.D.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation,

20, Watergate St.,

Navan.