On 24 November 2011, the government committed to deliver a multi-annual Action Plan for Jobs aimed at rebuilding the economy and creating jobs. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised the creation of 100,000 jobs by 2016 and a further 100,000 by 2020.
Areas to be addressed
The Action Plan for Jobs addresses seven principal areas:
- Improving competitiveness and intensifying competition in sheltered sectors.
- Supporting indigenous start-ups.
- Assisting indigenous business to grow.
- Attracting inward entrepreneurial start-ups.
- Developing and deepening the impact of FDI.
- Developing employment initiatives within the community.
- Exploiting sectoral opportunities, including:
- Health/life sciences
- Green economy
- Cloud computing
- Digital gaming
- Tourism and sport
- Financial services
The first plan, published on 13 February 2012, contains more than 270 actions to be implemented in 2012 by all 15 Government Departments as well as 36 State agencies. It will improve supports for job creating businesses and remove barriers to employment creation across the economy.
The 2012 plan includes the following measures:
- Establishing a one-stop-shop for small business supports by dissolving the County and City Enterprise Boards and creating a new Micro-Enterprise and Small Business Unit in Enterprise Ireland that will work with local authorities to establish a new network of Local Enterprise Offices in each local authority
- Implementing a range of new supports for small and medium sized businesses struggling to access credit, including a €150 million Development Capital Scheme aimed at addressing a funding gap for mid sized, high growth indigenous companies with significant prospects for jobs and export growth. A Loan Guarantee Scheme and a €100 million Micro-Finance Loan Scheme will also go live shortly.
- Better support for indigenous companies to improve their performance including:
- Establishing a new Potential Exporters Division in Enterprise Ireland to identify more and better support indigenous exporters.
- Up to €1.2 million per year in extra funding for mentoring and management development networks.
- Increased mentoring of SMEs by top business leaders, multinationals and large Irish companies.
- Assisting small businesses to engage in R&D and innovation.
- Helping more small businesses win big contracts, both from government and from large multinationals.
- Implementing the Succeed in Ireland scheme, to provide direct incentives to members of the diaspora and others across the world to create jobs in Ireland.
- Turning more good ideas into good jobs, by implementing a Research Prioritisation Plan and enacting new laws to target the State’s core €500 million annual research budget towards more applied areas of research with strong potential for commercialisation and job creation.
- Creating a vibrant environment for business start-ups, attracting more international start-ups and making it easier for indigenous businesses to establish in Ireland.
- Measures to reduce costs, including a request to government departments and agencies to identify, by March 2012, charges levied on business that can be frozen or reduced for 24 months.
- Initiatimg new and secure procedures for establishing wage setting mechanisms.
- Identifying a number of key sectors which will be major sources of job-creation and economic growth, such as:
- Manufacturing, including establishment of a Manufacturing Development Forum.
- Establishing a Health Innovation Hub to drive collaboration between the health system and the life sciences industry.
- Publishing and implementing a cross departmental plan for the green economy.
- Agri-food – including winning more investment from multinational food companies for Ireland.
- Cloud computing – including a Cloud Computing Strategy for the Public Service and establishment of a research centre in cloud computing.
- Establishing a cluster development team for digital games.
- Establishing industry clusters in targeted sectors.