South East Employment Forum.

26th June, 2012

Minister Bruton convenes South East Employment Forum in Waterford

20 State Bodies in region resolve to act to develop enterprise and jobs

20 State bodies with responsibility for employment and enterprise development in the South East yesterday (Monday 25th June 2012) resolved to take coordinated action to develop
sectors where the region has a competitive edge, in order to address the employment crisis in the region, according to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD.

The Minister was speaking  at the South East Employment Forum, at which he brought together all State bodies with an interest in enterprise and employment development in the South East, to review progress since the publication of the South East Employment Action Plan in late 2011.

The Minister attended a series of events and meetings while in the South East over the course of the day:

·        A very positive Action Plan for Jobs Forum in Wexford, chaired by Minister Howlin, at which a series of ideas for enterprise development in the region were suggested by Wexford businesspeople. The Minister has previously held seven other Action Plan for Jobs Forums around the country, including in Waterford

·        Jobs and investment announcements at Danone, Wexford (45 jobs) and EirGen, Waterford (30 jobs)

·        Meetings with 14 start-up companies in the South East who won awards under the South East Competitive Feaibility Fund worth a total of €200,000

·        Meeting with Eishtec, who in January 2012 announced the creation of 250 jobs, about progress in filling those roles and plans for the future

·        Meeting with IDA officials about plans in the South East

·        Meetings with start-up companies at TSSG Labs, Waterford

Speaking at the South East Employment Forum, the Minister said:

“As I have said before, the structural challenges that the region faces have built up over many years and will not be reversed with a simple set of actions. What is required is to build a stronger enterprise base in the region as a whole. This cannot be achieved by my Department, or by the IDA, but requires coordinated action over a period of years by all organisations with an interest in development employment and enterprise in the South East. That is why I have brought all relevant Government bodies together and tasked them with developing and implementing a series of actions to improve the enterprise offering of the region.

“I am glad to say that we have seen some progress in the past six months. Following my direction to assign a clear priority to the South East, the number of IDA company site visits in the region in the first six months of 2012 was more than the total for 2011, meaning that we are on course to see at least a 100% increase by the end of the year. We have seen 14 start-up companies awarded €200,000 in funding, and we have also seen some positive jobs news in the region.

“However we have a long way to go. Today we have reviewed progress in the six months since this Plan was published, and agreed to develop a series of further specific actions to be implemented before the end of the year. In particular, the State bodies represented here today have agreed to agree and implement a series of actions aimed at developing sectors where the South East has competitive strengths. We have also agreed to bring representatives of industry formally into this process, and I will be visiting the South East again to meet this group again and review progress in the next six months”.