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Taoiseach and Minister Bruton launch West Action Plan for Jobs, part of €250million regional jobs strategy

Successful implementation of Plan for Mayo, Roscommon and Galway would see creation of 25,000 extra jobs in the region – Minister Bruton

The Government will today (Monday) launch the West Action Plan for Jobs, aimed at delivering 10-15% employment growth in the region over the coming years.

The Plan is the fifth of 8 regional jobs plans to be published over the coming months, as part of a new €250million regional jobs strategy led by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD.

Following several difficult years since the crash, employment in the West has returned to growth, with 5,000 (3%) extra people at work over the past twelve months . During the years 2008-2011 27,400 jobs (13.3%) were lost in the region. The plan launched today targets employment growth of 10-15% over and above today’s employment levels.

The West Plan covers counties Mayo, Roscommon and Galway. Key sectors targeted as part of the plan include agri-food, tourism, medtech, ICT and pharma. Among the 194 actions in the plan to be delivered over the period 2015-2017 include:

  • Achieve an increase of at least 25% in the number of start-ups in the region, and a 25% improvement in the survival rate of new businesses.
  • Increase jobs in export-led sectors by 20% across the region by 2020.
  • Increase the number of IDA investments in the region by 30-40% up to 2019. This will result in a minimum of 92 additional projects for the West region by 2019. As part of this, IDA will build advance facilities in Castlebar (completion 2016) and Galway (completion 2017)
  • The Local Enterprise Offices will disburse over €3million in grant funding, and provide mentoring support to over 1000 businesses per year
  • Create 540 extra jobs in Gaeltacht regions in life sciences, mariculture and food, supported by Udarás
  • Establish a Regional Skills Forum to ensure the flow of critical skills to enterprises in the region
  • Create a food innovation hub and a dedicated food innovation centre in the region, and help food companies with high potential to scale
  • New programme to build on the success of the Wild Atlantic Way, by building out new tourism offerings and deliver new opportunities for the region
  • New traineeships in engineering, hospitality, logistics & transport and TV & film sectors
  • A series of actions to develop the marine research and ocean energy industries in the region
  • Creative industries - a new €2million INTERREG project to support the creative industries, and a targeted micro-loan fund for the creative industries disbursed by the Western Development Commission
  • Target the increased participation of women in entrepreneurship, including through the Local Enterprise Offices and a Galway Chamber Female Entrepreneurship Programme focusing on growing and scaling enterprise.
  • Implementation – a comprehensive implementation structure is being established to ensure delivery of the plan

 

The levels of employment growth actually achieved within that range will depend on factors including the level of support and collaboration within the local community for the Plan, and the level of collaboration between organisations in the region and the main Government bodies involved in the plan. Minister Bruton believes that based on all the evidence and the strong buy-in for the process up to this point it is realistic to target 25,000 additional jobs in the region by 2020.

The Taoiseach said: “While the recovery has begun to take hold across the country, we are keenly aware that it is not yet felt by every family. Jobs are now growing in every region of Ireland including here in the West and we are determined to make sure that this recovery is felt behind the door of every home. This West Action Plan, the fifth of eight regional plans, will help further spread the benefits of a rising economy and bring jobs here to the West. "The plan sets out a clear pathway to unlock the potential of the region and is very inclusive. No single agency can bring jobs to a region – this takes collaboration and that is at the heart of this plan. Local Enterprise Offices, tourism bodies, agri-food bodies and the national enterprise agencies will all work with local stakeholders to provide the best supports possible to help enterprise invest in the West. "This Government will continue to secure the recovery and grow jobs across the regions. The people of Ireland and this region deserve huge credit for the progress made to date and I look forward to positive news on jobs figures in the West in the future”. 

Minister Bruton said: “Jobs are growing right across the country, but they are growing faster in some regions than in others. That is why we have put in place the €250million regional jobs strategy, to support regions to play to their strengths and accelerate jobs growth in every area. 

“The West is a region which has faced major problems over recent years. Between 2008 and 2011 27,400 jobs were lost in the region, almost 60% of these in the construction sector alone. Emigration skyrocketed. However in recent years the region has bounced back, with 5,000 jobs created in the past year, and jobs growing in exporting companies supported by my Department in particular. This has been achieved mainly by the ingenuity, hard work and collaboration of workers and businesses in the region. However we can do more, and that that is why we are putting in place this highly ambitious plan to dramatically accelerate job-creation in the region. 

“I am convinced that with the right support from Government through the West Plan, and by continuing the collaborative approach right across the region, we can deliver 25,000 extra jobs over the coming years. This would be 25,000 extra pay packets coming into communities and 25,000 lives back on track – a goal well worth fighting for”. 

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 6312200 or press.office@djei.ie 

Notes for Editors 

The West Action Plan for Jobs

Employment in companies supported by EI and IDA has increased by over 5,000 in the period 2011-2014 (a 20% increase). Given that there were over 3,300 job losses in EI / IDA supported companies in the West in the period 2008 - 2010, it means that in total all the jobs lost in EI/IDA companies in the west during the recession have been replaced and the sector has returned to growth.

Further actions included in the Plan include:

  • IDA Ireland will commence construction of a new Advanced Technology Building in Castlebar, Co. Mayo, with a view to completion in 2016.
  • IDA Ireland will construct a new Advanced Technology Building in Galway which will be completed by 2017.
  • Develop ‘The PorterShed’ innovation hub in Galway city centre to provide collaborative co-working spaces for early-stage tech enterprises in ICT, Digital and Gaming sectors as the hub of an Innovation District
  • Develop an Accelerator Programme for high potential enterprises in the Galway City Innovation District.
  • Develop a landmark Galway City Innovation District comprising a cluster of entrepreneurs, start-ups, accelerators and incubators, to become the anchor point of a wider Western Innovation Network which will operate via links throughout the region
  • Create a Western Innovation District – by creating virtual connections for local hubs across the region to the Galway City Innovation District
  • Develop proposals for Innovation and Technology centres for County Roscommon such as an IT Knowledge Centre to foster knowledge based enterprise and retain graduates in the region.
  • Roscommon County Council will drive a project to develop linked technology hubs in the fibre-enabled locations of Roscommon Town, and Monksland
  • NSAI will establish a Galway regional office to provide a strong presence for local access to technical and clinical experts servicing medical device certification for the MedTech cluster in the West.
  • IDA Ireland will promote the West as a location for Bio-Pharma development and investment, leveraging off the existing Life Sciences cluster including the Monksland area of County Roscommon and the existing utility-intensive Strategic Sites in Oranmore and Athenry in County Galway.
  • Building on the critical mass of existing enterprise, Roscommon County Council will drive a project to develop the industrial zone of Monksland as a Biopharma/Medtech Hub including the development of a 7-unit incubator hub. 
  • The Marine Institute and SEAI will continue to develop and promote the national Smart Bay test and demonstration facility in Galway Bay, with ongoing testing of advanced marine technologies and systems. The SEAI will also develop the Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site in Belmullet as a grid-connected national deep water test facility for wave devices and components at the final stage of test and demonstration
  • WestBic will source international fast tracking opportunities for early stage enterprises
  • InterTradeIreland initiatives will include the delivery of Public Tendering Workshops for SMEs

Following the successful national Action Plan for Jobs model which has supported the creation of 100,000 additional jobs 21 months ahead of deadline, and in order to ensure that the Plan is delivered, a comprehensive implementation structure is being put in place. Deadlines and lead organisations are assigned in the case of each action, a “West Action Plan for Jobs Regional Implementation Committee” is being put in place, chaired by an industry figure, to drive implementation of this plan and identify new actions to be added over the lifetime of the plan. Progress Reports on implementation levels will be published every six months.

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