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Minister highlights support for improving skills and reducing unemployment

06 March 2015

MHK Laurence Skelly

The Minister for Economic Development Laurence Skelly MHK today highlighted the support that his Department provides to improve skills and reduce unemployment.

Minister Skelly said:

We are committed to job creation, job security and developing a highly skilled workforce for the Isle of Man and so I was delighted to see the Island’s unemployment rate fall by a quarter during 2014.

In 2013 we boosted our support to assist the long term unemployed with an additional £300,000 in addition to established programmes targeting 16-24 year olds who were not in any form of education, employment or training (NEET). As a result, 200 people have been helped directly into employment, the long term unemployed figure has fallen by 20% over the past year and youth unemployment has fallen by nearly 25%.

We have also expanded our successful work placement programme which provides genuine opportunities for those seeking work to gain vocational skills and experience. Originally this was developed to support the young unemployed but it has recently been expanded to cover all ages. Last year we provided placements for 100 people, double what we achieved in 2012, with 43 moving into employment.

Minister Skelly also stressed the importance of vocational training in helping ensure that the Island’s employers are able to call on appropriately skilled labour and to avoid skills shortages in key sectors.

Government’s Vision2020 strategy identified that the Isle of Man needed to provide a workforce that was more skilled in specialist areas in order to adapt its changing economy.

Minister Skelly continued:

The Department works closely with the private sector to understand the skills requirements of the local workforce and to ensure those needs are met. The Manufacturing and ICT sectors are great examples of this. Our financial support for vocational training is not only based on the benefit that will accrue to the employer and individual, but also takes into account the likely benefit to the broader economy.

The Minister concluded by saying:

Our initiatives are proving to be successful in getting people into employment which has a beneficial effect for individuals, local businesses and on confidence in the broader economy. We continue to look at new initiatives such as expanding the range of apprenticeships available in financial services, ICT and healthcare.

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