It is important for employers to avail of any support schemes for which they are eligible when recruiting staff. These are divided into employment supports which aim to improve access to employment and R&D schemes that support talent acquisition and development to boost innovation capacity in companies.
Employment support schemes
Employment support schemes aim to improve access to employment and to make it attractive to get long-term unemployed people back to work. Incentives for both employers and employees are consolidated under a number of different Department of Social Protection schemes and full details are available on www.welfare.ie
JobsPlus offers incentives to encourage employers to focus their recruitment efforts on those who have been out of work for long periods. This incentive scheme replaces the Revenue Job Assist and Employer Job (PRSI) Exemption schemes. Regular cash payments are made to qualifying employers to offset wage costs when they employ eligible jobseekers. Each person recruited must have been unemployed for more than 12 months and the level of payment increases when the person recruited has been out of work for more than two years.
The JobBridge National Internship Scheme
The JobBridge internship scheme is designed to provide work experience placements for interns in the private, public and voluntary sectors for six to nine months. The aim of the scheme is to assist jobseekers gain experience and it is targeted at new entrants to the labour market and unemployed workers wishing to learn new skills.
Individuals who have been on the live register for at least three months are eligible. Participants receive a top-up payment of €50 per week to their social welfare benefit and will keep any secondary benefits (eg, medical card, rent supplement). To register a vacancy and find more details visit www.jobbridge.ie.
Work Placement Programme
The Work Placement Programme is designed to offer unemployed people the opportunity to obtain up to nine months work experience in participating companies. Participants must be registered unemployed and can continue to claim their social welfare entitlement. There is no direct cost to the employer. There are two streams, stream one is aimed at graduates and the second stream is open to all individuals regardless of their formal education qualifications.
Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme
The Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme is intended as a stepping-stone to full-time work. It allows certain long-term unemployed people in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance for 15 months or more to take up part-time work and get a special weekly allowance instead of their unemployment payment.
Employee Retention Grant Scheme
The Employee Retention Grant Scheme assists businesses to retain an employee who acquires a disability which impacts on their current ability to do their job. It provides funding to identify accommodation or training to enable the employees remain in their current position or to re-train them to take up another position.
Inclusive employment supports
There are a number of practical supports and allowances available to employers to proactively assist the participation of people with a disability in the workforce, including the:
- employability service;
- wage subsidy scheme;
- reasonable accommodation fund for the employment of people with disabilities, comprising the Workplace Equipment and Adaptation Grant, the Personal Reader Grant, the Job Interview Interpreter Grant and the Employee Retention Grant;
- disability awareness training support scheme.
Supports for R&D talent acquisition in Ireland
Talent acquisition and development is also supported through State supports for R&D. Investment in R&D is no longer confined to manufacturing and is now a wider, far-reaching activity that applies to all businesses. The focus is on innovation and knowledge creation.
In 2013 Ibec compiled a one-stop, easy to use guide Unlock the Opportunities to R&D funding in Ireland (www.ibec.ie/researchguide).
In terms of human capital investment, there are specific schemes that match companies with talented researchers operated by the Irish Research Council. These include:
Enterprise partnership scheme
Companies work closely with students completing a Masters or a PhD degree or an experienced postdoctoral researcher on an agreed project. The Scholarship (Masters, PhD) funding consists of €24,000 pa of which the Irish Research Council contributes two thirds and the company one third per year. The Fellowship funding consists of a maximum of €45,895 pa, to cover salary and direct research costs.
Employment based postgraduate programme
Skilled individuals can apply to pursue a Masters or a PhD degree in any discipline, at a higher education institution (HEI) while employed by a company for the duration of the research. The applicant can be an existing employee of the company who is up-skilling or new to the company on the basis of the award. The company and the HEI must be based in Ireland and the researcher must spend 50% to 70% of his/her time based in the company. The project is agreed between the researcher, HEI and the company, and provides an opportunity for the researcher to work in a co-educational environment.
ELEVATE postdoctoral programme
This scheme provides the opportunity for a postdoctoral researcher to spend two years abroad in an international company and then one year back in an Irish higher education institution who employs the researcher for the duration of the award. The project is agreed between the researcher, HEI and the company. This scheme is 40% funded by the EU Commission, 30% by the Irish Research Council and 30% by the company. The company effectively covers the cost of the researcher for one year but gets the researcher onsite for two years and continues collaborating with them for a further year.
R&D supports on offer from agencies such as Enterprise Ireland and the IDA allow companies to acquire consultancy or mentoring advice. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies and competitive enterprises in the fields of science and engineering underpinning biotechnology, ICT and energy.
A common industry concern around accessing R&D supports has been that information has been both fragmented and difficult to access. The following may help:
- EURAXESS Ireland is a web resource for business detailing R&D funding opportunities and jobs. The portal www.euraxess.ie/business/default.aspx brings together a number of resources that companies can access directly and is linked to a European EURAXESS network in 40 countries. It facilitates:
1. advertising vacancies and searching an online database of researcher CVs;
2. searching for funding support opportunities where industry and academia can search for all national and European funding supports for business and research activities;
3. accessing the fast track research visas system, a fast track immigration scheme for researchers from outside of Europe.
- R&D supports are available from Enterprise Ireland and the IDA which allow companies to acquire consultancy or mentoring advice.
- Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies and competitive enterprises in the fields of science and engineering underpinning biotechnology, ICT and energy (www.sfi.ie)
Thursday, 9 January 2014