Enterprise, Trade and Employment | To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the extent to which the number of potential employees in County Kildare and throughout the country continues to be sufficient to meet the demands of the workplace
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the extent to which the number of potential employees in County Kildare and throughout the country continues to be sufficient to meet the demands of the workplace; the extent to which this continues to be monitored with a view to ensuring the maximisation of opportunities from both the employee’s and employer’s perspective; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Recent CSO data indicates an increase in employment in the Mid-East region of 28,600 for the year to the final quarter of 2021.
The employment recovery nationally coincided with the easing of public health restrictions and the roll out of Ireland’s vaccination programmes, highlighting the importance of the Government’s efforts to assist workers and businesses, especially through those wage supports which helped businesses maintain a link to their staff.
In its ongoing engagement with enterprise, my Department and its agencies have nevertheless been made aware of labour shortages in certain sectors. My Department has worked to signpost businesses towards the training and labour market activation programmes and supports, available through the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, its agencies, and the Department of Social Protection, in order to address their staffing needs.
At a regional level, not just in the Mid-East but across all nine regions, the skills needs of enterprise are monitored on an ongoing basis by the respective Regional Skills Forum. Each forum brings together State, enterprise and education and training stakeholders at local and regional level, with a view to identifying, interrogating and validating skills needs, and to ensuring that employers and enterprises are linked with the appropriate resources across the education and training system.
Some of the emerging skills shortfalls are due to pre-existing structural shifts, which have been accelerated by the impact of the pandemic. The digital and green transitions, and their associated behavioural changes, are altering the economy and leading to permanent changes in our labour market and business models. Not all jobs will return as we recover from the pandemic, while embracing these transitions will open up substantial new employment opportunities, as well as potential skills mismatches as these opportunities initially emerge.
The Government’s Economic Recovery Plan commits to supporting the transition of Ireland’s economy and workforce to the new digital and green economies. This goal will be realised through ongoing support for people in securing and remaining in sustainable and quality employment, in areas of identified skills needs for business. This will be achieved in particular through the combination of 50,000 upskilling and reskilling opportunities set out in the Recovery Plan and increased labour market activation interventions through the Government’s Pathways to Work 2021-2025 strategy.
In the Mid-East region, these upskilling and reskilling efforts, for both existing employees as well as those seeking to integrate or reintegrate in the workforce, will be aligned in particular with the strategic areas identified in the Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024- Mid-East, including digitisation and automation, Advanced Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, the Green Agenda, Agri-food and Screen content creation. Ireland’s economic migration policy also continues to accommodate the arrival of non-EEA nationals to fill skills and labour gaps that emerge across the economy in the short to medium term.
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