Mid West Interim Report – Tackling the unemployment challenges of the Region

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report is a summary of the initiative taken in the Mid-West Region to tackle the employment challenges created from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The European Commission recently launched its 2021-2027 budget. The new recovery instrument has been called Next Generation EU. In its press release, the commission said that “Relaunching the economy does not mean going back to the status quo before the crisis, but bouncing forward. We must repair the short-term damage from the crisis in a way that also invests in our long-term future”1

Many thousands will lose their jobs due to this pandemic. As detailed in this report, a very significant voluntary effort started on March 30th 2020. Driven by close collaborations between State Agencies, Academic Institutions and Industry leaders’, specific programmes in Hospitality, Retail, Customer Experience, ICT and Pharma were managed by a team of volunteers.

This is not the first time the Mid-West Region has been challenged by large-scale unemployment. Lessons have been learned over the past 10 years on the social and economic impact of over-dependence on a single employer and its relationship to regional development.

It is important that, as a region, we apply any lessons learned from previous experiences to tackling the challenges we will inevitably face in our labour market as a consequence of the Covid- 19 Pandemic.

Experience has thought us:

  • Any initiative must be industry led. Skills shortages and future skills needs must be recognised and acknowledged throughout the process
  • A collaborative approach is essential. We must use the strength of collaboration which has characterised our region over the past decade when devising a solution
  • The focus should be on skills for jobs and job retention. The employee and employer need to be at the heart of decision making
  • Any undertaking must be professionally managed and executed.

The focus of this initiative was to provide an immediate response to the sectors most severely impacted by Covid-19.

Our Key Objectives:

  • Take a proactive approach to helping those who had their employment affected
  • Take first-hand experiences of industry challenges and devise a strategy that would benefit everyone
  • Capture data and insights that would benefit the region and country in designing a solution
  • Use a data driven decision making process
  • Alignment with the Next Generation EU instrument which calls for support in re-skilling and helping businesses create new economic opportunities

CLICK HERE to view full Interim Report