Retail projects to create 1,600 positions

HUNDREDS of unemployed people in Cork face the prospect of a brighter 2007 as O’Callaghan Properties yesterday announced a jobs initiative.

Two new Cork city centre retail projects by the company could generate 1,600 full-time and part-time jobs along with 600 at the construction stage.

O’Callaghan Properties, which took more than 400 people off the unemployment register when it opened Mahon Point, is to replicate a training initiative in the run-up to the development of its planned St Patrick’s Street and Half Moon Street retail projects.

The jobs training measures are specifically aimed at people living in the northside of the city.

The initiative will be run in conjunction with FÁS.

Almost 400 people, mostly long-term unemployed who took part in the Mahon Point employment training initiative, were placed in jobs — the majority in retail.

Speaking at a presentation of retail studies’ certificates yesterday, Mr Owen O’Callaghan confirmed that discussions would shortly commence with FÁS and WIN (Work Initiative for the Northside) on implementing the schemes.

“I would be particularly keen that the construction skills course that we set up in conjunction with the development of Mahon Point, would also be established ahead of the projects. That was a particular success in Mahon and trained people who were unskilled to become semi-skilled construction workers,” said Mr O’Callaghan.

Pat O’Callaghan, regional director of FÁS said the Mahon Point initiative had been very innovative, community-based and extremely successful and was a real exercise in partnership between commercial and community interests and State agencies.

“I am confident that this new initiative will be equally successful,” he said.

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