Tánaiste Joan Burton launches ‘Feeding Ireland’s Future 2015’

Skills for Work Week; 2nd – 6th March, 2015

The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, today launched ‘Feeding Ireland’s Future 2015’, an initiative by the Irish food and grocery industry body set up to help support young unemployed people. This is the second year of the initiative and will involve food and grocery companies and service providers to the sector throughout Ireland providing free pre-employment skills for young people through its core initiative, ‘Skills for Work Week’, a designated skills training week in March 2015.

The programme is being promoted by ECR Ireland, with the support of its members, in partnership with the Department of Social Protection through its Intreo service. According to the latest Live Register figures, the percentage of young people on the live register in November 2014 was 13.9%.  Whilst this is down from 15.3% in November 2013, responding to this situation is still an ongoing priority for the Government. 

Speaking at the launch, the Tánaiste said: “As Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, I am delighted that the Department is involved with ECR Ireland and Feeding Ireland’s Future, which I regard as an important measure in supporting our youth employment strategy.  I would urge employers to take on the challenge of offering work experience to young jobseekers, to help them improve their chances of securing employment.  All too often we hear that young jobseekers do not adequately demonstrate their skills, ability and depth of experience in their CVs, which is often the only information an employer has in deciding to invite a candidate for interview.

“By participating in Feeding Ireland’s Future you can make a truly positive difference in a young person’s life.  You will be helping them gain the necessary skills to become job ready.  In short, you can help them to put their best foot forward to getting a job.  Each action, by you, no matter how small, can make a big difference in a jobseeker’s life.” 

Over the course of the next two months, the Department of Social Protection will be contacting young people across the country that would benefit from this unique opportunity.  The experience will enhance their employability skills through benefiting from the expertise and advice of employers in their locality.

The ‘Skills for Work Week 2015’ initiative is being led by board member of ECR Ireland, David O’Neill, Managing Director of SHS Sales & Marketing.

He commented that, as one of the country’s largest private sector employers, the food and grocery industry was well placed to support young people in the transition from education to employment.

“Feeding Ireland’s Future will give young people in Ireland a much better insight into the vast range of career opportunities available in our industry. Today’s young people are tomorrow’s workforce so investing in and inspiring our young people is critical for our sustained business success. Based on the support we have received so far, we are confident that Feeding Ireland’s Future will become a major industry initiative in which most retailers, suppliers and service providers will want to participate” he said.

This will be the second year of Feeding Ireland’s Future. Last year, 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 effective activities conducted were CV writing courses, interview skills and giving insights into various job functions & trading relationships.  The initiative was a great success, as 97% of participants said they were more confident in applying for a job after taking part in ‘Skills for Work Week’. In addition, 88% of companies that took part said they would definitely aspire towards participating in the programme again in 2015.

Companies already signed up for Feeding Ireland’s Future include some of Ireland’s leading names in the grocery industry; BWG Foods, Keelings, Kellogg’s, Maxol Group, Musgrave Group, Nestlé, P&G Foods, SHS Sales & Marketing, Tesco, and Unilever are all involved to date. The companies will open their doors to give young unemployed people first-hand experience of the workings of production and marketing. 

The companies will provide a range of initiatives including free on-site skills workshops and site visits for young people at locations across Ireland during Skills for Work Week 2015, which will run from Monday 2nd to Friday 6th March 2015.  The focus will be on developing pre-employment skills and will include advice on CV writing, interview training and behind the scenes tours of factories, depots and offices.

Declan Carolan, General Manager, ECR Ireland called on as many companies as possible to participate and offer some pre-employment training initiatives during March 2015.

“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.  We are looking to build on the success of last year’s programme and I hope as many companies as possible participate for 2015 so that future employers will favourably recognise those applicants who have participated in the Skills for Work week.  Our industry needs to collectively step up and help inspire young people and I believe that Feeding Ireland’s Future can play a significant role in this ideal” he said.

ECR member companies interested in participating in Skills for Work Week 2015 should contact: declancarolan@ecrireland.ie or T 087 235 2148

For media queries, please contact:

Sheila Gahan, Wilson Hartnell T: 01 6690030 or 087 234 2409, e: sheila.gahan@ogilvy.com

Ruth Doyle, Wilson Hartnell T: 01 6690030 or 087 944 8134, e: ruth.doyle@ogilvy.com 

About ECR Ireland

Efficient Consumer Response Ireland (ECR) was established in 1998 to promote and educate the Irish Business Community about Efficient Consumer Response and the benefits it brings. It is the official ECR organisation in Ireland and is a member of ECR Europe. The board is comprised of senior executives from a selection of retailers and suppliers operating in Ireland whose purpose it is to represent the sectors within which they trade.

ECR Ireland encourages long term co-operation between retail trading partners to drive costs out of the supply chain and benefit the Irish consumer. It does this by developing industry best practices, promoting their adoption and providing education and guidance on key demand side & supply chain issues. It is committed to the implementation of ECR principles by Irish companies and is a not for profit organisation.

About Intreo

Intreo is a service from the Department of Social Protection which helps those unemployed with their employment and income support services needs. Intreo provides a personalised service, based on individual needs including; advice on education, training and personal development opportunities, job search assistance as well as information on and access to the range of income supports available.

Companies already signed up for Feeding Ireland’s Future

The Musgrave Group
SHS Sales & Marketing
Maxol Group

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