O'Keeffe Calls For Student's Support

The Minister for Enterprise has today urged the Union of Students of Ireland to get behind Government efforts to protect and create jobs.

He was responding to a protest by the student group yesterday to highlight Ireland's high levels of unemployment among graduates under the recession.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) said strategies needed to be put in place if a generation of skilled Irish graduates were to be saved from emigration.

The group said the Government should be introducing measures to stymie Ireland's 'brain drain', through schemes such as job shares, where two graduates could be taken off the live register on a part time basis in order to gain experience.

However, responding today, TD Batt O'Keeffe said he was urging the USI to get behind "decisive Government efforts to protect and create jobs".

"I secured increased investment on enterprise and job creation initiatives under the six-year capital review plan announced last week. Under the plan, the Government's job creation agencies are targeting over 270,000 jobs over the period," Mr O'Keeffe said.

He added: "A further 30,000 jobs will be supported annually under the capital infrastructure programme while some 10,000 jobs will created through retro-fitting and energy projects. I am working with the Minister for Social Protection on measures to take some 60,000 people who are on a three-day week off the live register. And I am examining how barriers to graduates or others taking up offers of job placements can be removed."

The Minister for Enterprise said that the Government was strongly pressing the banks to lend to viable small businesses and that they were grant-aiding high-potential start-up firms with an extra €55 million in funding over the next six years.

He said the Government's strategy is as much about creating new jobs as it is about supporting unemployed workers so that they can get back into the labour force as the economy turns.

He added that his department has increased the number of training supports from 66,000 in 2008 to over 160,000 this year.

"Our policies are helping Ireland to emerge from recession and to avoid another period of protracted recession," he said.


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