Minister Niall Collins TD presented with the Mid-West Response Interim Report

Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins TD presented with the Mid-West Response Interim Report – recognising the importance of upskilling & reskilling in the region for employees affected by COVID -19.

Woodlands House Hotel (Adare) Co. Limerick played host to a unique gathering of leading professionals from both public and private sectors on Friday 17th July – the Mid-West Response Group is an independent, voluntary not-for-profit initiative the purpose of which is to deliver employment solutions to the Clare, Limerick & Tipperary areas of Ireland, post Covid-19. Both regional and national stakeholders are driven by the passion to realign, train and upskill the Mid-West workforce affected by the economic impact – enabling a transition back to gainful employment, or reskilling to a new career.

“COVID-19 is having a severe impact on the Irish economy. There will be significant long term social and economic challenges for the families, communities and local economies of the 50,000+ people in the Mid-West region whose livelihoods will be affected as a result of this pandemic. Our mission was to deliver a Pilot Programme of employment initiatives to this cohort. To deliver a program of Training, Upskill and Reskill to the working community of Ireland’s Midwest region who have been affected by Covid-19.” Says Eamonn Murphy (Chair of Mid-West Response and Managing Director at Irish Centre for Business Excellence)

During the Interim Report launch a small number of keynote speakers shared their recognition of the importance of the Mid-West Response initiative including Denis Kelly, Barry O’Sullivan, Dermot Kelly, Joe Leddin, Eamonn Murphy and Minister Collins TD.

Minister Collins TD said; “What Mid-West Response has done is hugely innovative and dynamic in terms of taking this initiative, which has happened nowhere else around the country, and a big congratulations to all the stakeholders involved”.

Education and upskilling are key components of any economic recovery. The Mid-West Response Interim Report demonstrates the capability, capacity and commitment of Industry, Academia, State Agencies and Local Authorities to collaborate, co-ordinate and deliver a significant economic response in the middle of a national lockdown.

1,115 people were upskilled and retrained through on-line certified courses during the period April 2020 – July 2020 by adapting existing courses provided by the initiatives training providers Limerick & Clare ETB, Tipperary ETB and University of Limerick.

The Mid-West Response Group have an ambitious target, which is to continue the initiative beyond the Pilot Programme of the last 3 months and to transition 2,000+ people from unemployment into Software Development, Data Analytics and Customer Experience (CX) professionals. The Group intend to establish a traineeship type model in ICT and CX that will act as an employment-based transition programme for those affected by COVID-19 who wish to restart their careers. Initially with 200, then scaling to 2000, RECRUT, together with the DEASP, will facilitate this transition from unemployment to jobs of the future.