Speech by the Tánaiste and Labour Party Leader, Joan Burton T.D. at the launch of Enterprise 2025, Ireland's National Enterprise Policy 2015-2025
When Apple announced 1,000 new jobs for its Hollyhill campus in Cork yesterday, it gave a boost to an entire city.
Because behind the numbers are real lives, real communities - and good jobs are central to people and communities thriving.
This Government’s focus has been on helping people back to work.
As Labour Party Leader, I attach singular importance to that objective – because fairly paid and secure work is the single best protection against poverty – the single best way to a better life.
So as a Government, we have put in place a series of interlocking strategies that have full employment at their heart.
Pathways to Work.
The Action Plan for Jobs.
Our capital investment plan, Building on Recovery.
And today, Enterprise 2025.
Unemployment has fallen by more than one third, from over 15% to 9.3% last month.
Some 126,000 jobs have been added in the economy since the crisis peak.
Importantly, most of these are full-time jobs.
For those in work, we have reduced USC to ensure more take-home pay.
We have increased the minimum wage and set up the Low Pay Commission.
And we have strengthened workers’ rights.
But our work is not over.
We need to continue to restore all the jobs lost during the downturn and to build a recovery that can benefit all in our society.
Enterprise 2025 will assist on that front.
Innovation, competitiveness and productivity are cornerstones of the strategy.
It seeks to:
· Stimulate job creation throughout Ireland so that unemployment in each region is within one percent of the national average.
· Restore our competitiveness to rank in the top three of the most competitive small countries in the world; and
· Realise long term productivity growth to levels ranking alongside the top 5 EU countries.
We want an innovative and competitive enterprise base delivering quality employment that is sustainable over the longer term and that delivers a higher standard of living for all of our people.
Skills will be central to this.
Investment in workplace learning will be key to our success over the coming decade, requiring both the employer and the employee to grasp the opportunity for upskilling and reskilling.
We will build on activation programmes such as Springboard and Momentum to provide skills that are in demand by employers, to improve transitions from education to employment and to reduce the risk of unemployment in the first instance.
We can and will meet the challenges presented in terms of the changing nature of the workplace and evolving skills requirements so that our people can grasp the opportunity.
My colleague, Jan O’Sullivan, will shortly publish the Skills Strategy will outline the Government’s policy in this regard.
Our aim will be to ensure that there is an apprenticeship, training place or college place for every young person who wants one.
That will be another crucial piece in the jigsaw, together with Enterprise 2025 and related strategies, that will set us on the road to full employment.
And in turn, build an economic and social recovery that delivers higher standards of living for all our people.