Minister English comments on Dept. of Enterprise Budget 2016

Action Plan for Jobs, Business, I.T., Jobs, Research and Innovation, Startups

Budget 2016 “hits the bullseye for startups, entrepreneurs and jobs”, as it incentivises innovative startups, rewards successful entrepreneurs and makes sure that the jobs that are created will really pay, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said today. He was joined at a post Budget Press Conference by Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D.

Minister English said: “Ireland’s future economic growth and prosperity will depend in very large measure on our continued investment in science technology and innovation. This investment is all about developing a competitive knowledge based economy and society, driving innovation in enterprise, building human capital and maximising the return on R&D investment for economic and social progress. Over the past number of years Ireland has built up a strong science base which has yielded results in terms of economic and societal impact. In Budget 2016 the Government is building on this success by prioritising the funding available for research, development and innovation. It also aims to maximise the impact of this investment on jobs and on the economy. A new science and innovation strategy under development will provide the roadmap for the next phase of Government investment”.

Among the new pro-jobs taxation measures announced today are:

  • Reduced Capital Gains Tax rate of 20% for successful entrepreneurs
  • Reductions in the USC affecting middle-income workers and creating jobs
  • Income tax credit of €550 for self-employed people, with improvements in future years
  • Knowledge Development Box – globally ‘best in class’ and first OECD-compliant scheme,competitive rate of 6.25% on qualifying income, benefits for SMEs, in place from 1st Jan 2016
  • Extension of tax relief for start-up companies
  • Employment and Investment Incentive scheme to increase availability of investment finance for business – extension of scheme to include all geographical locations, and increase thresholds

Over €3billion for capital investment in enterprise and job-creation over lifetime of capital plan

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

Investment will allow full delivery of comprehensive regional jobs plans

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Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD together with along with the Minister of State for Business & Employment Ged Nash TD and the Minister of State for Research, Innovation and Skills Damien English TD today welcomed the publication of the capital plan, and announced the provision of a total of over €3billion in capital investment in projects under the remit of their Department over the period 2016-2021.

Minister English said: “The Government’s Capital programme is an investment in future proofing the economy and building a sustainable recovery not only for business but for the Irish people. The plan will underpin our economic and social development for the years to come. This Government has protected investment in research and innovation throughout its term and we have a strong base now on which to build.  Our forthcoming science, technology and innovation strategy will set the policy direction for the next phase of our investment and will complement the investment in physical infrastructure being announced today”.

The plan published today allocates a total of €3.01billion to capital projects under the Department of Jobs, and represents an average annual increase of €20.6million on his Department’s allocation for 2014 – a year when the agencies under his Department delivered a record 19,500 extra jobs. When the arrangement on own resource income is taken into account the annual figure will be significantly higher again.

Minister Bruton will outline the full breakdown of the Department’s capital programme for 2016 on Budget Day. He stressed today that the allocations announced today will allow his Department and its agencies to continue to deliver the programmes of activities which have support record levels of job-creation and exports over recent years, as well as the comprehensive programme of regional jobs plans commenced earlier this year. These plans outlined a total investment of €250million in IDA business parks, advance facilities, and Enterprise Ireland regional funds.

Minister Bruton said: “Over the past three years, employment in companies supported by my Department has risen by well over 40,000 – meaning that almost half of the total increase in employment over that time has been accounted for directly by companies supported by my Department. Those companies have also delivered record exports over that time. Today’s capital plan is about building on that record and bringing it to the next level – accelerating jobs growth in every region of the country, and delivering our aim of sustainable full employment.

“The allocation announced for our Department is a significant increase on the figures which have allowed us to deliver those record results. It will not mean that we will abandon the prudence and the smart use of resources that we have shown over the past four years. However it will allow us to plan for the future, secure the recovery and deliver the job-creation that will make possible everything else that we as a Government want to do over the coming years”.

Minister Nash said: “Job creation remains our number one priority in this Department and the capital programme we are announcing today will ensure that our agencies, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices have the funding they need to build on the record levels of job creation we have all worked so hard to achieve in recent years.  My focus is also firmly on ensuring that the jobs these agencies are helping to create are decent sustainable jobs which enable all workers to have a decent standard of living.”

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.

Steady economic recovery continues with 27.7% drop in Live Register in Meath since 2012  – Minister English

Jobs, Meath, Navan, Research and Innovation, Skills, Startups

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English has said that a 27.7% drop in the Meath Live Register since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012 indicates the steady growth in the economy in Meath, and it represents one of the biggest drops in the country.

“Each week in 2015 over 1,300 jobs have been added to the economy showing that the Government’s plan to get the economy back on track is working. All regions have experienced job increases and unemployment decreases in the past year, meaning that the recovery is spreading to all parts of the country.

“The latest CSO Live Register figures show that the number of people signing on in Meath has dropped by 27.7% or 3,229 people since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012. 125,000 new jobs have been added across the country.

“While there is still more work to be done, the recovery is spreading to all parts of the country, and it is important that we work hard to continue to support further growth. A steady, stable and sustainable economy is that the people of Meath need and deserve. This is what the Government is committed to achieving.

“The Government is on track to replace all the jobs lost in the crisis by 2018 and to bring about a situation where there will be more Irish people coming back home to take up jobs.

“There is no doubt that more jobs and opportunities are needed here in Meath but the Live Register figures are very encouraging. However the recovery is still fragile and there are still people who have not felt its benefits.

“Fine Gael in government has cut the USC and reduced the income tax rate. It is important that we continue to add more jobs and to make work pay by reducing the tax burden further. We cannot risk a move back to the ‘if we have it, we’ll spend it’, high tax Fianna Fáil policies.”

Unemployment down in Meath and Westmeath

Jobs, Meath, Wesmeath

Meath unemployment down 1,244 people or 12% in 12 months, and Westmeath unemployment down 935 people or 10% in 12 months

Today readers I want to highlight new figures from the Central Statistics Office on the monthly unemployment rate which now stands at 9.8% for the first time since 2009.

The seasonally adjusted number of people who are unemployed fell to a total of 209,700 nationally in May – the lowest level recorded since 2009.

In Westmeath the number stands at 8,725 in April 2015, a fall of 935 people since April 2014 or almost 10%.

In the Castlepollard Social Welfare District covering North East Westmeath 962 people were unemployed in April 2015, down 163 people on April 2014 or 14.5%.

In Meath the number stands at 8,394 in April 2015, a fall of 1,244 people since April 2014 or 12%, one of the highest in the country.

One year ago the unemployment rate stood at 11.7% nationally so it is clear that our plans to tackle unemployment are working.

Through the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work, people are returning to the workforce. Every one of those new jobs in the last 12 months is a life back on track, it is a family supported, it is human potential fulfilled. We want more of this to happen.

We cannot pause for one second until everyone in Meath, in Westmeath and Ireland who wants a jobs has a job.

My job as a local T.D. and Minister in Government is to ensure we have the right environment for business and employment to thrive, that will remain my priority.

Launch of new Meath Economic Development Plan today

Jobs, Meath
Delighted to b joined by fellow Meath TD's Helen McEntee and Regina Doherty at the Meath Economic Development Plan launch today

Delighted to be joined by fellow Meath TD’s Helen McEntee and Regina Doherty at the Meath Economic Development Plan launch

I want to commend Meath County Council, its Cathaoirleach Cllr. Jim Holloway, Chief Executive Jackie Maguire, Economic Director Kevin Stewart and all their hard working staff for the launch of the new Meath Economic Strategy 2014-2022.

Those who contributed their practical experience and expertise to this strategy as part of the Meath Economic Forum under former Taoiseach John Bruton must also be thanked.

As I told the launch event today, only a positive, unified, consistent and evidence based approach will win new jobs, new business and new investment for Co. Meath.

Through the Strategy Launch, and the work feeding into it, Meath is announcing proudly to Ireland and the World that it has the people, skills, location infrastructure and native business ‘know how’ and success to greatly enhance and expand any outside enterprise that wants to make its home here.

The New Stone Age monuments of Newgrane, Knowth, Dowth and Loughcrew are often cited from a tourism point of view, and rightly so. But they also represent Meath’s proud history of innovation and invention established over 5000 years ago right up until the present day. That is the spirit and the energy we must channel into in the years ahead.

Meath County Council’s approach in putting itself front and centre at the heart of enterprise promotion in the County is one of the most progressive in the country. It represents a true embracing of the potential of last year’s Local Government reforms.

County Councils are about improving the quality of life of a County’s citizens. Good quality sustainable jobs are the best guarantee of quality of life. New sustainable locally based jobs are also the best guarantee that Meath County Council has the resources it needs to keep Meath at the forefront in enterprise, in tourism and in overall quality of life indicators.

The boom years were symbolised by excess and wasted opportunities. Whilst Meath got a legacy of excellent motorways it missed out on FDI and became a dormitory County for Dublin. Now as recovery takes hold, Meath must be aggressive and unapologetic in promoting its own interests to the country, and to the World.

All of us, no matter our political loyalties or personal ambitions, must go out and sell a message of positivity and hope about Meath’s future and potential. It is time for us all to don the  Royal jersey and work together.

This issue transcends politics. It is about parish and place. It’s about jobs to keep people at home, and jobs to bring people back home. The massively successful Tayto Park adorns the Meath jersey, and its ‘can do’ and ‘never say never’ approach and achievements should inspire us as Meath people in both sport and in business.

Launching Meath's new 2020 Economic Plan

Launching Meath’s new 2020 Economic Plan

154 new Meath jobs created by companies supported by the Meath Local Enterprise Office in 2014

Jobs, Meath, Wesmeath

Today I want to welcome the 2014 annual results for the Local Enterprise Offices, showing that nationally 4,012 extra jobs were created by companies supported by the Department of Jobs through the LEOs.

Locally in Co. Meath 154 extra jobs were created by companies supported by the Meath Local Enterprise office in 2014. The Meath LEO supports 180 client companies in the County. They employed 804 people in 2014, an increase of 19% on the previous year.

Last year the Westmeath Local Enterprise Office supported 242 client companies in the County in providing 1,284 jobs.   The number of Local Enterprise Office supported jobs in Westmeath is one of the highest in the country outside of Dublin, and the highest in the Midlands. They employed 1,284 people in 2014, an increase of 38 jobs, or 3%, on the previous year on a strong base.

Last year the system of 31 Local Enterprise Offices was established to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ system of enterprise supports to start-ups and small businesses across the country. These figures today show the reforms are working.

Start-ups are at the heart of the economic recovery. 2 out of every 3 new jobs in Ireland comes from a start-up enterprise. They need every support and encouragement possible from the state. Every new job is a life back on track, it is a family supported, it is human potential fulfilled.

The new LEO system means that people thinking of starting or expanding a business in every part of the country are able to access the full range of State supports provided by different Government bodies – for example local authorities, Enterprise Ireland, Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, the Credit Review Office, training bodies – in one easily accessible location within Meath and Westmeath County Councils.

Meath has such much more potential to unleash. The aim of making a Co. Meath a hub for new food and technological start-ups as part of Meath County Council’s new economic vision for the County will create real, local and sustainable high value jobs for the local economy.