13/03/2019

Future Jobs Ireland - A Strategy To Secure Ireland's Economic Success

The Government has launched a strategy for the next phase of Ireland's economic development, known as Future Jobs Ireland.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD and Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD unveiled the plan on Sunday 10 March.

The first in a series of annual reports, this strategy outlines the Government's long-term ambitions for the future economy under five key pillars:

• Embracing Innovation and Technological Change

• Improving SME Productivity

• Enhancing Skills & Developing & Attracting Talent

• Increasing Participation in the Workforce

• Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD said the strategy involves a commitment to doubling Ireland's Lifelong Learning rate by 25%. He commented: "People have worked hard over the last eight years and should be proud of how far they have taken our country.  But there is no room for complacency. Future Jobs Ireland sets out to respond to future risks. We want Irish people to benefit from the changes already happening in the world of technology, artificial intelligence and robotics, and the move to a low-carbon economy.

"I want Ireland to be a country that works to live, not lives to work. Businesses need to consider new ways of attracting and retaining talent through remote and flexible working options: women as well as men can get the job done. So that people living in rural areas can work for Google, Facebook and Apple without having to commute to Cork City or Dublin. We need to see lifelong learning as the norm so we are adaptable to new technology and sectors.  And, today we are announcing that we have committed to doubling our Lifelong Learning rate to 18% by 2025.

"Ireland is one of the most attractive places for Foreign Direct Investment. But the next phase of our national development should be Irish owned SMEs succeeding at home and then going global. By confronting head-on the challenges we face in the world of work, we can ensure we are able to prosper from the transformations that are coming. We can face the future with confidence because of the preparations we have made today."

Future Jobs Ireland aims to invest in the development of people as well as businesses, due to connectivity and greater accessibility which is changing the way people work. Flexible working and lifelong learning is not only good for businesses and employers, it can also be good for the wellbeing of employees. That is why Future Jobs Ireland 2019 will include initiatives such as:

• A national consultation on the extension of flexible working options to all employees and commencing a strategy for remote working.

• Developing a public service to assist people returning to work, particularly mothers.

• Incentivising employers to provide early learning and care facilities.

• Reviewing income tax arrangements for second earners to incentivise people to return to work.

• Encouraging employers to use all the available talent through greater employment of underrepresented groups of people e.g. those with disabilities, older people, and women in certain age cohorts.

• Doubling participation in lifelong learning by 2025.

• Developing training for emerging technologies.

• Providing career advice to existing workers.

• Ensuring Ireland's education and training system is responsive to enterprise needs. 

Meanwhile, the Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan added his support to the strategy, specifically the elements relating to digital technology.

Given his eGovernment responsibilities, Minister O'Donovan was particularly keen that the strategy articulate the opportunities that emerging technology offer Ireland in terms of job creation and GDP growth.

Minister O'Donovan said: "As part of my role in Government, I have had the opportunity to meet some of the brightest young talent in the country, to speak to some of the country's leading technology companies and to research the use of technology in other countries. I am convinced that even though Ireland has a wonderful reputation as a technology powerhouse, due to the success of our education system, our strong indigenous sector and our ability to attract most of the leading global technology companies, we can do even better.

"I believe we can do this using the concept of GovTech (Government Technology). A focus on GovTech means promoting greater interaction between Government, academia, industry and investment in how we leverage the use of digital technology within Government so that the public and enterprises can conduct their business with the public service faster and at a reduced cost, while the public service can provide improved and expanded services to all customers in a cost-effective way for the Exchequer. GovTech can also help drive an innovation agenda within Government and for the SME community with which it engages.

"I was therefore delighted to get the support of my colleagues in making GovTech a key theme in the new Strategy and I plan to set up a GovTech Summit by the middle of this year to discuss in detail with various stakeholders how Ireland might lead Europe in this emerging opportunity. I then plan to bring a paper back to Government by the end of this year."



(JG/MH)

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