Thursday, 27th February 2014

Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, has strongly welcomed the publication today (Thursday) of the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, and the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD.

“I am delighted to see that the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 contains a strong focus on supporting young people in business. Earlier this month Minister Richard Bruton announced that new schemes are being introduced to support unemployed young people, including a new Entrepreneurship Fund aimed at start-ups by under 25’s and a Graduate Recruitment Programme. The Action Plan for Jobs 2014 further expands on such initiatives.

“It is essential that our young people are provided with support to start up their own businesses, actively engage in entrepreneurial activity and enter the workforce. There are a number of such positive incentives in the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 including:

· An entrepreneurship internship programme whereby a young person can shadow an entrepreneur

· A competitive Youth/Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund to complement the LEOs/Microfinance Youth Programme

· An enhanced Student Enterprise Award Initiative targeting a greater number of students from third level sector

· An Entrepreneurial PhD Programme with a view to training more scientists in SFI supported research teams

· Facilitating links between the local youth work sector and the LEOs/Microfinance Ireland to assist those who are farthest from the labour market

· A new call under the Graduate for International Growth Programme

· Roll out for 2014 call for proposals for the ICT graduate skills conversion and Springboard programmes

· The implementations of a pilot Post Graduate Programme for Professional Practice to provide opportunity for graduates to acquire cross disciplinary skills in STEM based sectors

“I was also heartened to see that a review of the Microfinance Loan Act will take place later this year and I will be pressing for much stronger access to funds by young people in this review. The Government will also explore the potential to secure EU funding to support youth work initiatives that increase young people’s employability.

“It is clear that the Action Plan for Jobs is working. This year’s Plan aims to build on the significant progress which has occurred in job-creation since the first Action Plan was launched, with more than 61,000 extra jobs added in the year to December 2013. According to today’s QNHS figures the unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds decreased from 27.7% to 24.2% over the year to Q4 2013. While progress is clearly being made, this is an area which I will certainly continue to focus on.”