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Lost Generation of People Resources

Today the Ryan Academy had a stall at an open session for works who have been let go from SR Technics, the aviation firm in North Dublin. Here is a whole set of mostly men many of whom had worked in SR Technics for most of their lives….people who are very enthusiastic about working but many are confused about what direction to go in. These are part of what could be potentially the largest ‘lost’ generation of Irish people resources since the founding of the State. In the ‘bad old days’ people would go to London or New York or Boston to find work often settling down but at least using their talents in a constructive way. Now we have a large group of workers, including many in the areas of accountancy, law or engineering. This on top of the more working class workers who tend to lose their jobs in a downturn. This means there is a huge cost to the State and Society in a real way by the huge numbers turning up to collect their dole. This has two direct effects on the social sector: firstly how do we deal with the increased social issues and human tragedies that come out of this situation?

One solution is to look at entrepreneurship to create jobs particularly in those areas where long term unemployment is a real issue. There are a large number of cases of this in the U.S. such as the companies funded by the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund or REDF as it is known now. Ireland needs more venture philanthropy that can particularly target new start-ups in this area, and there is precedent in Ireland with commercial social enterprise organisations such as Speedpak or the Ten Fourteen restaurant in Dublin. The U.K. has also started working on the social enterprise part of their economy in a £1 billion jobs creation scheme announced last May, which included a target of 15,000 jobs in the social enterprise sector as a start. Many of these new start-ups will be in the area of renewable energy or recycling, so there is a treble bottom line for society. Of course these enterprises will be more focused in revenue generation which means they may also be more resilient to cut-backs in government funding, which may be no bad thing.

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