The Department of Education and Skills submitted on 19 June 2015 an application to the European Commission for EU co-funding for a programme of guidance, training, education and enterprise supports for more than 200 redundant workers and young unemployed persons under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).
Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D., said “The EGF has been a valuable funding source for Ireland which has significantly helped the Government to assist vulnerable workers who have been made redundant by the adverse impacts of globalisation. Ireland has a very good record in securing approval of its programmes and in the use of the Fund to date. We have also been at the forefront of those Member States who are taking up the new opportunity under the Fund to assist similar numbers of young unemployed persons to enter the labour force”.
The main group of workers to be assisted comprises the 108 strong workforce made redundant at the PWA International Limited (PWAI) aircraft engine casing plant in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin and at an ancillary on-site security company. The PWAI workers were employed in the same sector and location as 415 workers made redundant at Lufthansa Technik Airmotive Ireland (LTAI) last year. The company was previously part of the Airmotive company in the late 1980s before being bought over by companies based in America and Singapore. Technical regulatory issues prevented these workers from being included in the successful EGF application made by the Department on behalf of the LTAI workers, also located in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin, in September 2014.
The new application also includes a package of measures to assist up to a similar number of young persons under the age of 25 years who are not currently in education, training or employment. This optional possibility under EGF is viewed by the EU as being complementary to the Youth Employment Initiative and other measures which seek to tackle youth unemployment across the Union. Ireland’s two current EGF programmes in support of redundant workers from the Andersen Ireland jewellery manufacturing plant in Rathkeale, Co. Limerick and the LTAI workers also include such cohorts.
Ireland has made nine successful EGF applications since 2009. In that time Ireland has assisted over 9,700 redundant workers, delivering almost 22,500 individual interventions under the Fund at a total cost in the region of €60m. The EU has provided between 50% – 65% of the cost of these labour market activation measures. The remaining funds are sourced nationally through the National Training Fund and voted expenditure of the relevant Government Departments including the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Social Protection.
The PWAI EGF application, if approved by the EU, will run until 19th June 2017 and will include a wide ranging programme of career guidance and development, publicly and privately sourced training including dedicated EGF training grants, second and third level education courses, a specific EGF course expenses contribution scheme to assist with the associated costs of participation in training and education as well as enterprise supports for those seeking to set up their own business. Key service providers will include SOLAS, relevant Education and Training Boards and Higher Education Institutions, the Department of Social Protection and Local Enterprise Offices. The Department of Education and Skills estimates the total cost of the programme to be some €740,000 should all funding be availed of ultimately.
EGF applications must be approved by the European Commission, European Council and Parliament under a tripartite approval process. Interim funding of the proposed programme of labour market activation measures is met from national sources.