NINE THOUSAND CONSTRUCTION workers who were laid off in the past two years will receive the help of millions of euro in funding under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).
The Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills, Ciaran Cannon TD, said today that the EGF will co-finance “a range of active labour market measures” to assist the specific group of workers who were made redundant in Ireland between 1 July 2009 and 31 March 2010.
To date, at least €22 million of the total value of the programme – €55 million – has already been invested in training supports delivered by FÁS.
This was used to benefit former workers were employed at at Dell Computers, Limerick (2,400 redundancies), Waterford Crystal (598) and SR Technics (838).
The money has been used to provide those specific workers with guidance, full, part-time and evening training and further education courses, apprenticeship on- and off-the-job supports, full and part-time third level education programmes and enterprise start-up advisory and financial supports as well as related training and education allowances.
Minister Cannon said his department, in consultation with relevant state agencies, is developing programmes to implement the balance of this funding.
He went on to state that an inter-agency group under the chairmanship of his department has been established and meets regularly to ensure EGF related measures are maximised.
There are no direct monetary payments made to EGF beneficiaries.
The Irish applications must still be approved by the European Council of Ministers and the European Parliament with full approval expected by the end of the year.
In the interim, measures must be funded exclusively from national sources. In total the Government will provide €19.25m by the time the relevant EGF programmes expire in June 2012.
The Minister said that the government has learned “valuable lessons” from the Dell, Waterford Crystal and S R Technics EGF programmes.
He has instituted a review of the entire EGF process and stressed that the fund “should not be viewed as a panacea for eligible redundant workers”.
A large proportion of the training currently being implemented focuses on redundant apprentice training programmes .