Launch of Feeding Ireland’s Future 2016

The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, has launched ‘Feeding Ireland’s Future 2016’, an initiative by the Irish food and grocery industry body set up to help support young unemployed people. This is the third year of the initiative and will involve food and grocery companies and food service providers throughout Ireland providing free pre-employment skills for young people under 24 years. The core activity, ‘Skills for Work Week’, a designated skills training week will take place from 29th February to 4th March, 2016.

During Skills for Work Week, companies will provide a range of initiatives including free on-site skills workshops and site visits for young people at locations across Ireland. The focus will be on developing pre-employment sills and will include advice on CV writing, interview training and behind the scenes tours of factories, depots and offices. Last year, 27 companies took part in the programme. According to the Department of Social Protection, the number of young people aged between 18 and 25 on the Live Register in December 2015 was 38,726 (12%). This figure is down from 13.5% in December 2014.

New to the Skills for Work Week 2016 programme is a partnership with Youthreach, a Department of Education and Skills official education, training and work experience programme for early school leavers aged between 15 and 20 years old. Twelve Youthreach centres across Ireland will take part in Skills for Work Week 2016, whereby company representatives will host seminars with groups of 30 young people in each Youthreach centre, giving advice and interactive learning sessions about CV skills, interview techniques, skills training and personal development to the young students.

Speaking at the launch, the Tánaiste said: “The Feeding Ireland’s Future Initiative has proven to be a huge success over each of the past two years.  It has provided a unique opportunity for many young people to experience work in the food and grocery industry.  It has enabled young people who left school early with few qualifications and other school leavers who had significant qualifications but with no work experience, to gain skills on the shop floor that started their career path.

“I would like to acknowledge the support of the employers and companies who have become involved in this initiative through providing their time and staff in becoming involved in helping young jobseekers gain new skills and knowledge in this industry.  I have met with many young people who participated in this initiative.  It has been a most positive experience for them and it has been the catalyst that motivated them to strive to carve out a career for themselves.  This year, I would urge more employers and businesses throughout the country to become involved in the initiative which benefits individual young people and gives something back to the local communities.”

Declan Carolan, General Manager, ECR Ireland is calling on as many companies as possible to participate in the initiative and offer some pre-employment training during the 2016 programme.

Feeding Ireland’s Future is a great example of how the food and grocery industry can collaborate to further the skills of young job seekers in Ireland and better prepare them in their quest for work.  Today’s young people are tomorrow’s workforce so investing in, and inspiring, our young people is critical for our sustained business success. We are looking to build on the success of the last two years of the initiative and I am strongly encouraging as many companies as possible to sign up for the 2016 programme” he said.

The programme is being promoted by ECR Ireland, with the support of its members of the retail and grocery industry, in partnership with the Department of Social Protection through its Intreo service.

ECR member companies interested in participating in Skills for Work Week 2016 should contact: declancarolan@ecrireland.ie or T 087 235 2148