The Government has today (Monday) launched the Mid-West Action Plan for Jobs, aimed at delivering 10-15% employment growth in the region by 2020.
The plan is the fourth of eight regional jobs plans to be published as part of a new €250million regional jobs strategy led by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.
Having suffered very badly during the economic crisis, unemployment has now fallen from 16% when the first national Action Plan was launched to 11.2% this year. Numbers in work have started to steadily increase, with agency led jobs growing by 9% between 2011 and 2014.
At the launch in Limerick, Minister Bruton said the challenge for this Regional Action Plan is to build on that success and target growth in key sectors of potential like Aviation, Lifesciences, Engineering, Internationally Traded Services and Tourism. If the potential of these sectors is harnessed properly an extra 23,000 jobs can be added by 2020.
Key targets of the Plan include:
Increase by at least 25% the number of startups in the region through targeted initiatives and programmes to support enterprise – among other measures, a specific Competitive Feasibility Fund for the Mid-West to assist start-ups will be run in 2015;
Increase employment in the existing base of companies by strengthening their capacity to scale up their business and win new markets. The existing base of over 1,000 enterprises supported by the agencies, which now employ over 30,000 people will be a particular focus of this effort;
Attract more investment to the region: over the next five years, IDA is aiming for a 30% to 40% uplift in projects, to a total of 66 investments within the region plus deliver on an new IDA Advance Technology Building in Limerick in 2017;
Strengthen the important sectoral clusters in the region: aviation, lifesciences, engineering and internationally traded services;
Increase the value of agri-food exports by 85% by 2025 by supporting food start-ups to grow and scale and enhancing the marketing of the region’s food and beverage products;
Grow overseas tourist numbers in the Mid-West to 1.26 million by 2025, increase overseas tourism revenue in the Mid-West to €375million by 2025, and grow employment in the sector by 25% to 2025;
A comprehensive implementation structure, with senior private sector partners driving the process, is being established to ensure delivery of the plan.