Wednesday 28 September 2016

Kelly hopes to tempt emigrants home to solve skills drought

Published 20/04/2015 | 02:30

Alan Kelly
Alan Kelly

Thousands of young Irish workers who emigrated during the recession are to be tempted home under a major new campaign.

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The Government is developing the plan to bring back emigrants who left for Canada and Australia to address a mounting skills shortage.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly is spearheading plans to launch an advertising campaign in both countries, where in excess of 85,000 Irish emigrants relocated to since the economic crash in 2008.

Under the plan, which has already been discussed at Cabinet, Mr Kelly's department will roll out an extensive information and advertising campaign seeking the return of skilled workers in several sectors including construction, as the economy here continues to improve.

Mr Kelly has been spurred into action as he says many companies involved in construction especially are reporting a shortage of key skills.

Mr Kelly has established a financial clearing house within his department to assess the various initiatives from housing investment companies.

It comes despite unemployment running at 10pc, but the argument from Government is that specific skill sets which are not available here at the moment are available among many who left Ireland.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Kelly said: "There is a shortage of certain constructions skills in Ireland, but plenty of Irish people have those skills except they are in Perth, Toronto or elsewhere.

"Many people would love the opportunity to come home for work and the level of interest and investment in Ireland from abroad is growing every day.

"We will need a skilled workforce to capitalise on this and that means looking to bring people home.

"Having to advertise to bring young people home to Ireland just shows the changed economic landscape.

"Some Irish have settled abroad, but plenty are looking for opportunities to come back and it would be great to see them back on our Gaa club teams, back raising families near their own homes."

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said it welcomes any measure to increase the level of skill set and expertise but that its main focus at present is on increasing the number of apprenticeships.

Irish Independent

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