Govt announces integrated jobs strategy

Govt announces integrated jobs strategy

The Government has announced plans which it says can create up to 300,000 jobs in the next five years.

The strategy, entitled "Trading and Investment in a Smart Economy" also plans to increase the value of indigenous exports by a third.

The plan envisages the direct creation of 150,000 jobs in manufacturing, tourism and internationally traded services by the end of 2015, and insists a further 150,000 spin-off jobs are possible.

It also plans to increase the value of Irish exports from home-grown companies by a third, and attract another 780 foreign investment projects through the IDA.

The overall value of agency-assisted indigenous exports last year was almost €13bn. The plan aims to increase that figure by €4bn to some €17bn by 2015.

On tourism the plan is to increase the number of overseas visitors here to eight million.

All of it will be implemented by a new Foreign Trade Council which will develop new brands for Ireland and exploit marketing opportunities.

Launching the initiative in Dublin today, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said jobs are the central policy of his government and this plan will reposition the country and bring a new focus to job creation.

"International trade, tourism and investment are crucial to the creation and protection of jobs now and in the future," Mr Cowen said.

"This new integrated action plan will ensure a sharp focus across the entire Government system on opening new markets for Irish firms, creating many thousands of new jobs, repositioning Ireland in the international marketplace and bringing a new business focus to our diplomatic missions abroad."

The Taoiseach was joined at today’s launch by Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe, Education Minister Mary Hanafin, Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith and Trade and Commerce Minister Billy Kelleher.

Minister O’Keeffe said the plan would strengthen Ireland’s trade links through a joined-up approach to targeting markets.

"While the US, UK and eurozone partners will continue to be key markets for Ireland, this plan aims to dramatically increase the number of exporting firms and diversify the destination of indigenous exports into new high-growth target markets such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, Japan and the Gulf States.

"The plan will drive productivity across a range of sectors - a key challenge of the “smart” economy," Minister O’Keeffe added.

Minister Hanafin said the plan aims to increase the number of visits to Ireland to eight million by 2015 and generate at least 15,000 new jobs in the tourism sector.

"In the short term, our focus is to grow numbers in markets where we have a head-start including the US, UK and Germany.

"In terms of new and developing markets, the Asia Pacific region will present the fastest growing outbound markets over the next 15 years," she added.

The strategy was also welcomed by employers' group IBEC.

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