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It’s time — in today’s blog at least — to get a bit serious. Ireland has a talented, well educated workforce but is still emerging from a tough economic period. The percentage of young unemployed is in double figures and needs to fall. Government is only too aware of this. That’s why it supported the recent launch of Feeding Ireland’s Future 2015, the second year of the Feeding Ireland’s Future initiative.

But it’s not a government initiative — or at least not entirely. This also comes via an Irish food and grocery industry body set up to help support young unemployed people. Food and grocery companies and service providers throughout Ireland will be offering free pre-employment skills for young people through a related initiative called ‘Skills for Work Week’, a designated skills training week taking place in March 2015.

ECR Ireland, the Department of Social Protection and many of Ireland’s leading names in the grocery industry are part of Feeding Ireland’s Future, including, of course, Musgrave. But what you no doubt want is not a list of supporters but an idea of what it’s all about. Well, oddly, it’s quite simple. Sometimes the right people aren’t getting the right jobs for very basic reasons. Take last year for instance, when 29 companies participated in the programme offering over 1,500 places for young unemployed people to attend skills sessions designed to aid their quest for work. The most useful training turned out to be CV writing courses, interview skills and giving insights into various job functions and trading relationships. Understanding the job and promoting yourself effectively, in other words. Both are useful but even more so when they go together, which is why the young participants seemed to approve.

“Helping them gain the necessary skills to become job ready,” is what the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, calls this. And we at Musgrave are ready to help. Certainly if companies that know what they want from employees can offer expertise and advice, we believe they should, as do Nestle, Maxol Group, Tesco and a number of others taking part in Feeding Ireland’s Future.

After all, it’s not just the young who can benefit. We may be helping to nurture an industry leader of the future who could benefit not just him or herself but our own businesses in an increasingly competitive global market. In other words we might not just be helping to lower unemployment and its cost to the state or bringing more people into the Irish workforce but nurturing a future senior figure in Unilever, Kelloggs — or even Musgrave. Now there’s a thought…

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