15th November 2020 Businesses in Kerry should apply for the extended Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme – Griffin Businesses in Kerry should apply for the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme which is now being extended until mid-2021, Deputy Government Chief Whip Brendan Griffin TD has said. Deputy Griffin said: I am delighted to receive confirmation from the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD that the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme is being extended for businesses to apply to it. “So far 18 businesses in Kerry have applied for the scheme, which is designed to support employers to continue to recruit apprentices during the immediate Covid-19 period. “It ensures that businesses who take on an apprentice are hired at €2,000 per apprentice and another €1,000 if the apprentice is still on the books for a year. “This is a good model. It allows a person to earn and learn and allows businesses to train recruits and get some payment for it. “Minister Harris is also developing a new Action Plan for Apprenticeship, but the scheme has offered a lifeline to many businesses seeking to take on apprentices and security for the apprentice. “SOLAS has also moved to simplify employer access to apprenticeship through a relaunched website at www.apprenticeship.ie where employers can find information on participating in apprenticeship or, indeed, discover how to kick-off the development of new apprenticeship programmes,” Deputy Griffin concluded. Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “Covid-19 has upended all our lives. While the challenges the crisis presented are unprecedented, they also open up unique opportunities for us. “In this week’s Budget, we secured a package of €118 million to help thousands of you reskill and retrain in areas where we need more workers or where there is potential for future employment. “One area we will focus on is the area of apprenticeship. We have also secured funding to expand training courses in retrofit skills to 1,500 people per annum. We will extend programmes to include 500 places for people in search of employment in this developing area as well as providing more places for people in the construction sector. “2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for businesses and people with us all having to adapt to new ways of working. We will also roll out a new climate action upskilling scheme through Skillnet Ireland. Skillnet programmes are industry led. Courses will be designed by industry, for industry and will give businesses the skills to adapt to a sustainable, low carbon economy.So log on to www.gov.ie and find out more.” ENDS For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

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Tourism Industry will benefit from VAT rate reduction, business supports and investment in airports – Griffin The tourism industry will benefit from budgetary measures including a cut to the VAT rate, investment in our airports and new business supports, Deputy Government Chief Whip Brendan Griffin TD has said. Deputy Griffin said, “The Government has recognised the unprecedented challenges facing the tourism and hospitality sector as a result of the pandemic and I am pleased that Budget 2021 contains measures to assist Kerry businesses, in addition to providing investment in our aviation industry. “The VAT rate for hospitality and tourism sector will be reduced from 13.5 to 9% from 1st November 2020. “This temporary measure is being put in place to provide support to the sector, where many Kerry businesses remain closed and those that are open are operating at significantly reduced capacity. The reduced rate will apply until 31 December 2021. “If passed through, the measure will reduce the cost of restaurant supplies, tourist accommodation, cinemas, theatres, museums, historic houses, open farms, amusement parks, and hairdressing. “It is also important to ensure we continue to invest in infrastructure to ensure Ireland has a viable tourism sector once the world opens up again after the pandemic. “Budget 2021 provides exchequer support of €31.3m to our regional airports. €21.3m is provided under the Regional Airports Programme and, separately, for the first time, in recognition of the devastating effects of Covid, Shannon and Cork Airports will have access to capital funding under a separate €10m Exchequer-funded programme. “Many people have lost out financially due to the cancellation of travel plans during COVID-19. Additional funding of €15m has been allocated to ensure customers of insolvent travel agents and tour operators may be refunded in full or repatriated from abroad. “I would like to commend by colleague, Minister of State with responsibility for international and road travel and logistics, Hildegarde Naughton, TD, for securing the supports announced for the tourism and aviation industry in Budget 2021. “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on tourism and Fine Gael in Government is committed to supporting the sector through this challenging period through restoring jobs and promoting the industry. “In addition to existing interventions to support businesses in Kerry , An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe also secured the new Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) as part of Budget 2021. “The new Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) is aimed at Kerry businesses which have either been prohibited in operating or only been able to trade at significantly reduced levels as a result of restrictions imposed on them in response to Covid-19. “It will offer a targeted, timely and temporary sector-specific support to affected businesses in Kerry. Generally, it will operate when Level 3 or higher of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 is in operation. “Qualifying businesses in Kerry can apply to Revenue for a cash payment for the period of restrictions. Payments will be calculated on the basis of 10pc of the first €1m in turnover and 5pc on further turnover up to €4m, based on average (VAT exclusive) turnover for 2019. “I hope that the supports outlined above will go some way towards supporting businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector, whose operations have been impacted more severely by the requirement for public health restrictions, Deputy Griffin concluded. ENDS For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841