Action Plan for Jobs 2017 key pillar of Ireland’s Brexit strategy


Government Must Focus on Meeting Ambitious Jobs Targets


Action Plan for Jobs 2017

Waterford Chamber has welcomed the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs 2017. Commenting on the Action Plan, Waterford Chamber President, Laurent Borla said, “We support the Government commitment to the target of adding 200,000 jobs to our economy by 2020 and the ambitious aim of 45,000 new jobs in 2017.


“We welcome the cross-departmental approach to the implementation of strategies to create jobs and support Irish businesses. This Plan will require a coordinated effort from across Government to deliver on these ambitious objectives.


“The Irish economy has been performing well over the past number of years, but we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent. With the impending UK withdrawal from the EU and the evolving external trade policy of the United States, Ireland will face serious challenges in 2017. The APJ 2017 is an opportunity to focus the minds of policy makers and job creators.


“The focus on diversifying Ireland’s trade footprint outlined in the Plan is a welcome recognition of the specific challenges arising from Brexit uncertainty. Building the capacity of our indigenous SMEs to export will take on a new importance as our traditional markets become more difficult to access. The Chamber network has long advocated for the introduction of an SME focused export finance scheme, and we particularly welcome the announcement of an Export Finance pilot scheme to help our SMEs to access new markets.”

Clear strategy for regional economic development needed - Ireland 2040


Laurent Borla RTE


National Planning Framework must drive the sustainable economic growth of Ireland’s regions


Commenting on the launch of Ireland 2040 consultation process, Laurent Borla, President, Waterford Chamber said, "We welcome the launch of the Ireland 2040 paper and the beginning of a public consultation process that will help inform the development of the National Planning Framework. A strong National Planning Framework will shape planning strategies in Ireland for the next 20 years.


"We believe the primary focus of the National Planning Framework must be to facilitate and support the effective and sustainable economic growth of Ireland’s regions. A clear strategy for regional economic development will ensure that each region can fulfil its potential for economic growth and will boost Ireland’s overall economic competitiveness.


"A National Planning Framework that is practically implementable will play a positive role in the long-term sustainable economic development of Ireland. Strong cities driving a regional ecosystem of thriving towns and vibrant communities will grow the Irish economy and enhance the quality of life of our people. The National Planning Framework will be transformational for Ireland and we urge businesses to engage with the consultation."

Waterford Chamber welcomes European delegation




The 2016 European Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurship stated very clearly “Digital transformation is not an option – it is a must”. As a result, Waterford Chamber has joined forces with a number of European partners to develop ‘Business Transformation towards Digitalisation and Smart Systems’ (BITTMAS).


The European delegation met in Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Resort this week under the leadership of Waterford Chamber’s Strategic Projects Executive Donal Nolan to review the technical elements of the project and to move it to the next stage of development.


BITTMAS is a self assessment software tool to aid SMEs in the digitisation process, which will allow businesses to measure themselves against industry benchmarks.


According to Donal Nolan, “This is year one of the project, which will see ourselves and delegates from Germany, Austria, Romania, Spain and Turkey develop the project. Year 2 is when we begin field testing and we will be reaching out to a select number of Waterford Chamber members to engage with us on the project, which on completion will have a huge impact on the digitisation of business across Europe.”


Welcoming the international group, Waterford Chamber President Laurent Borla said: “Europe 2020 as a strategy intends to focus the European Union (EU) and its member states on the important task of improving the EU’s competitiveness. A top priority is small and medium-sized enterprises. Europe is a continent of SMEs — where nine out of ten companies are SMEs and, two out of three jobs are in SMEs. They have to be part of the digital journey; they are crucial to Europe´s growth and competitiveness. Your project will enhance the development of SMEs everywhere and future proof them so they are able to develop and grow within the market.”


For more information on Strategic European Projects, please contact Donal Nolan by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Affordable Childcare Scheme is a step in the right direction


Waterford Chamber welcomes today's (30th January 2017) publication of the Heads of Bill on new Affordable Childcare Scheme by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone TD.


Commenting on the proposed Affordable Childcare Scheme, Nick Donnelly, Waterford Chamber CEO said, “Investment in childcare has a positive impact not only on children and parents but also for the wider society and our economy. The cost of childcare is a significant portion of the cost of living for many parents. This impacts not only families but also businesses which subsequently may struggle to retain staff, particularly female employees who often opt out of the workforce when faced with unmanageable childcare costs.


“We believe that the availability of the new Affordable Childcare Scheme from September 2017 will give more families access to affordable childcare and should therefore have a positive impact on female labour market participation, making it easier for employers, particularly SMEs, to retain valued staff and meet wages demands.


“Access to affordable childcare is a huge factor in the overall competitiveness of the Irish economy. In fact, the European Commission has urged Government to improve access to affordable childcare, highlighting that without this investment Ireland’s future economic growth would be negatively impacted. Retaining our economic competitiveness must be to the fore of Government policy, particularly as we prepare for Brexit. Ireland must reassert its position as a leading international knowledge economy and it cannot do this if parents are pushed out of the workforce due to high childcare costs. The proposed Scheme is not an overall solution but a welcome step in the right direction, a step that is good for children, families, businesses and the wider economy.”

Increased variety of apprenticeships & traineeships a welcome addition to the Irish education landscape


Commenting on today’s (26th January 2017) announcement by Minister for Education Richard Bruton TD and Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan TD, Waterford Chamber President, Laurent Borla said, “We welcome the ambitious targets set out today by Government to increase and expand apprenticeship and traineeship places by 2020 and the allocation of an extra €20 million in funding for delivery this year.


"Increased workplace based learning programmes will play an important role in helping the Irish education system meet the demands and skills needs of a growing economy and an ever evolving jobs market. Practical learning and orientation with elements of on-the-job placements ensure that graduates are workplace-ready, benefitting both businesses and job-seekers. The diversity of options being made available under the Plan announced today will be vital in the Department’s goal of making the Irish education system the best in Europe within a decade.


"Workplace and skills based learning must play a greater role in Ireland’s education system going forward and the increase in apprenticeships and traineeships is much needed. The challenge now will be to encourage uptake and promote the varied opportunities that apprenticeships and traineeships can offer to students and businesses; for too long they have been associated with a limited number of trades. SMEs in many sectors have much to gain from working with SOLAS and engaging in apprenticeship and traineeship programmes and we encourage businesses to get involved."

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Calendar of Events 2017



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