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Pictured at the regional workshop on job creation in the Mid West were, from left, Ger Dollard, Director of Service, Clare County Council; Dr Orlaith Borthwick Regional Skills Forum Manager; Councillor Kieran O'Hanlon, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick; Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD, Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Barry O'Sullivan, Johnson & Johnson and Chairperson of the Mid West Action Plan for Jobs Implementation Committee; Dr Pat Daly, Director of Service Limerick City and County Council; Pat Fitzgerald, Economic Development Limerick City and County Council; Attracta Lyons Economic Development Officer with Tipperary County Council. Picture: Brian Gavin Press 22

Regional workshop plots way forward on job creation

The Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Enterprise Mary Mitchell O’Connor has met with the Mid West Action Plan for Jobs Implementation Committee to discuss the future of the plan to deliver more jobs for the entire region.

A half-day workshop has taken place in Limerick with representatives of the state’s development agencies (IDA and Enterprise Ireland), local authorities (Clare County Council, Limerick City and County Council, Tipperary County Council), Education Bodies (Limerick Clare ETB, LIT, MIC, UL), the Limerick and Shannon Chambers of Commerce, and industry representatives from the Manufacturing, IT, Financial Services, Agrifood and Tourism sectors all taking part.

The Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is an initiative where government and industry collaborate to improve the environment for enterprise to grow, and jobs to be created. The purpose of the half-day workshop was to review achievements to date and to explore options for future initiatives.

Chairperson of the Implementation Committee Barry O’Sullivan from Johnson & Johnson outlined that the group’s priorities were to focus on issues within their control such as skills pool within the region and up-skilling of existing workforce, creating opportunities for all elements of the workforce, increasing female participation, enhancing rural enterprise and assisting in the provision of infrastructure such as office accommodation and quality broadband availability.

New opportunities in the areas of manufacturing, the internet of things, aviation, home working were discussed.

Addressing the Committee, Minister Mitchell O’Connor pointed out that the Mid West is the fastest growing region in the country outside of Dublin, unemployment levels are at 7.4% (below the national average) down from over 16% in 2012, close to 14,000 jobs have been created in the region since 2012, and the Mid West Local Enterprise Offices (LOE’s) have assisted in the creation of 731 jobs in the past year.

She said: “As a Government, we want to see that all regions, all cities and towns, all communities in the country, are facilitated in achieving their economic and social potential. I am delighted to witness here first hand the outstanding progress that is being made to grow employment in the Mid West, which really showcases what can be achieved through dedication and productive collaboration.”

“The Mid West Action Plan for Jobs set a target of creating 23,000 extra jobs in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary by 2020. It’s fair to say that this region is already well on the way to achieving that target, with nearly 14,000 jobs created since the start of 2015. These recent positive employment trends for the region are a credit to those in both the private and public sector, in small and large organisations, who are making it their business to improve the job environment in their local communities,” added the Minister.

She praised the work of the Committee and the commitment of people in the region, in “making the Mid West a magnet for business investment, talent and tourism and providing people with the opportunity to stay and work in the region.”

Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Economic Development, Clare County Council, said, “The Mid West Region Action Plan for Jobs complements actions and initiatives undertaken by Clare County Council to support small and medium enterprises, encourage entrepreneurship and promote the County as an attractive investment location.”

“The recent adoption of a new Clare County Development Plan 2017 – 2023 gives an appropriate platform to expand and further build on the existing job creation potential in Clare leveraging the County’s outstanding strategic assets, including Shannon Airport, UL, the Shannon Estuary, The Wild Atlantic Way and the strong local SME sector,” he added

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