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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Apr 23, 2013 - 7:40 AM


Irish Economy: Bruton's latest aspiration - - 20,000 net new manufacturing jobs by 2016
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Apr 22, 2013 - 4:17 PM

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Ministers, Richard Bruton and Ruairi Quinn and Martin Shanahan (right) from Forfás, with Robin Rennicks (second from left) owner of Prodieco, Cookstown Industrial Estate, Tallaght, Dublin, April 22, 2013.

Irish Economy 2013: Another week and Richard Bruton, jobs minister, at a media event announces another jobs aspiration/ plan. This time it's a so-called plan for 20,000 additional jobs in the manufacturing sector by 2016. Meanwhile, the apprenticeship system is in a shambles and a disgrace compared with those provided by several European countries.

There are about 205,000 currently employed in the manufacturing sector and US drugs and medical devices firms dominate the sector in terms of output.

Richard Bruton and  Ruairi Quinn, the minister for education and skills, today published strategies prepared as part of the Action Plan for Jobs.

The ministers have received reports from expert groups which have come up with ideas over the past 2 years and it's not clear what either minister believes is feasible and how serious they are in terms of giving attention to the stated aspiration.

There is the inevitable laundry list of initiatives and the potential for adding 43,000 new jobs by 2020 is promoted. So this is where the 20,000 figure by 2016 is derived from.

The term 'strengths' appears in the manufacturing report 49 times; weakness or weaknesses get no mention.

Competitiveness and access to finance are cited as problems but these default reports in Ireland where the selected members of expert groups produce output that seldom challenge policy makers, are an insult to citizens.

Key actions are proposed across a range of areas, including; access to new funding, management training and support, costs reduction and technology adoption.

Finfacts: Irish apprenticeship system a shambles

Reports here.

Among the specific measures proposed are:

  • A new Start-up Fund run by Enterprise Ireland specifically targeting supports for new manufacturing start-ups;
  • Enterprise Ireland to introduce a new Capability Fund to support capital investment by manufacturing companies;
  • EI and IDA to target additional financial supports for R&D investment specifically targeted at engineering firms;
  • A new National Step Change Initiative available to all EI and IDA client companies that will systematically support manufacturing companies to
  • expand their client base through staff training and Peer Learning,
  • improve their adoption of new technologies and embrace R&D,
  • accelerate collaboration between companies in similar sectors to generate greater efficiencies in areas like global sourcing,
  • Proposals to maintain or reduce costs to manufacturing companies across areas like energy, waste, regulation, tax etc.
  • Better targeting of training at skills shortages in the manufacturing sector through the implementation of the Manufacturing Skills study.

This is pretty thin gruel, as a basis for growing net jobs in manufacturing by 21%.

Check out our subscription service, Finfacts Premium , at a low annual charge of €25 - - if you are a regular user of Finfacts, 50 euro cent a week is hardly a huge ask to support the service.

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