From education to employment

7 Million Euros Allocated to Promote Development of Community Enterprise Scheme

Mr Micheál Martin, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment in Ireland, announced earlier this month that the Enterprise Ireland Community Enterprise Centre Scheme would be extended.

The scheme is set to receive an injection of 7 million euros during the period of 2006 ““ 2008, and will be allocated based on assessment of local needs. The announcement serves to extend the Enterprise Ireland Community Enterprise Centre Scheme initiated in 2002. It will be competitive and will be implemented through a public call for proposals to be advertised nationally.

Minister Glad to Announce Funding

Mr. Martin said: “I have approved the allocation of 7 million euros in the period 2006 – 2008 aimed at promoting community enterprise in areas that lack existing enterprise space, have experienced significant job losses, or have a poor history of enterprise development. The Scheme is aimed at meeting the needs of communities to grow local enterprises.”

The achievement of regional economic and training balance was highlighted in the Enterprise Ireland Strategy: Transforming Irish Industry. Mr Martin pointed out some of the benefits of the scheme: “Enterprise Ireland encourages entrepreneurship at grass root level through its support for Community Enterprise Centres. These Centres provide a supportive environment for budding entrepreneurs and serve to help the development of entrepreneurship at the local level.”

Development and Literacy?

This news comes at a time when it has been announced that a quarter of the population in Ireland have the lowest level of literacy, with a further third just barely able to read and write. The Irish Vocational Educational Association, which provides more than 90% of adult learning classes and courses, has complained of being underfunded. There was also unrest in December 2005 following the budget announcement that failed to meet the demands of unions in Ireland for better skills funding.

Mr. Martin stressed the business and development impact of the Community Enterprise Scheme, saying: “To date Enterprise Ireland has approved over 34 million euros and paid out over 22 million euros for some 137 Community Enterprise Centre (CEC) projects including new CECs (107) and expansions to existing CECs (30). Of the 137 projects, 20 are at various stages of planning or construction, 112 are located outside Dublin city, 8 projects were completed in the Regions in 2004 and 3 have been completed in 2005 to date.”

Jethro Marsh

Is 7 million euros enough? Tell us in the FE Blog

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