Reaction to Budget 2022

 

By Gerard Walker, Future Jobs-Skills-Work Insights

 

 

The Department of Finance expects that the Covid-19 adjusted unemployment rate, which includes everyone on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, will fall to 9.25% this year. This is down from the peak of 19% recorded at the height of the pandemic. The jobless rate is expected to fall to 6.5% by the end of 2022. The number at work is expected to increase by 8% in 2021 with 150,000 jobs added and by 13% in 2022 with some 275,000 jobs projected to be added. This rebound would result in the numbers in employment reaching around 2.35 million which would be a return to pre-pandemic levels. The Employment Wage subsidy scheme is to remain in place in a graduated form until the end of April. The Pandemic Unemployment Payment scheme is due to end two months earlier than this.

 

In relation to skills development, which will be of particular interest to IITD members, the Budget will fund additional upskilling and reskilling opportunities to meet the needs of individual learners and wider labour market requirements including in areas such as housing and climate change. This includes the provision of upskilling and reskilling opportunities for those in employment and for unemployed people, as well as the continued development and support of apprenticeship programmes.

 

 

Specific initiatives include:

  • 6,000 Skillnet places and 1,600 Skills to Advance places in key skills areas of the economy.
  • 8,900 places on Skills to Compete which is an initiative to support those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic to re-enter the workforce.
  • Training to support jobseekers and address climate and low carbon initiatives including 35,000 learners to avail of green skills modules and additional places on Retrofit and the expansion of the Nearly Zero Energy Building Standard which applies to all new houses built after December 2020.
  • Continuing support for the development of apprenticeships through off-the-job training places for 7,000 craft apprentices impacted by Covid, and an additional 3,000 payments to employers under the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme.
  • A new employer apprenticeship grant will be introduced in 2022.
  • Funding is provided to implement the new 10-year Adult Literacy for Life Strategy and to support the ambition of Future FET: Transforming Learning 2020-24.

 

Within Higher Education there will be a continuation of provision for 1,500 places to meet the high-level demands for Springboard courses.

 

For those engaged in remote working an income tax reduction amounting to 30% of the cost of vouched expenses for heat, electricity and broadband will apply. This will be kept under review.

 

Within schools 1,165 additional Special Needs Assistants will be recruited bring the total number to 19,200. There will also be 980 additional Special Education Teachers to support children with special education needs will be recruited in schools.

 

Regarding EU programme funding, Ireland will receive just over €1 billion of funding from the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve to help counter the adverse economic and social consequences of Brexit in areas such as enterprise supports; supports for the fisheries and agri-food sectors, reskilling and retraining; and checks and controls at our ports and airports. Under the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility Ireland will receive almost €1 billion to contribute to a sustainable, equitable, green and digital recovery.

 

 

 

Main Takeaway

The anticipation of 275,000 jobs to be added in 2022 will require substantial upskilling and reskilling. The skills profiles of these jobs will be different to those temporarily or permanently lost over the pandemic. The Budget provides additional funding to support skills development. L&D professionals will have an essential role to play in ensuring the success of this transition.  

 

 

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