‘Big target for the construction sector’ – McGreevy
The decision to establish a joint Council initiative on behalf of the hard pressed construction industry has been praised as a signal of positive progress by SDLP Councillor Connaire McGreevy.
McGreevy, who is Chair of the Economic Development Committee on Newry and Mourne Council said the project with Down District Council would provide a “solid platform for jobs creation.”
He added that the scheme was vital for the entire South Down region, particularly given the extent of the suffering caused by the virtual collapse of the construction industry following the 2008 crash.
“Working in the construction sector I know at first hand the problems that thousands of people have had to cope with.
“While I obviously welcome the most recent statistics from the Department of Enterprise and Investment showing that the unemployment claimant count in Newry and Mourne has decreased by 6.4 per cent in the last twelve months the fact is that we are still above the Northern Ireland average.
“At a recent meeting in Castlewellan of the Construction Employers’ Federation there were heartbreaking graphic examples of the real hardship facing workers in the sector. We have a social responsibility as elected representatives to try and do all in our power to give hope.
“The significant financial backing being provided by Invest NI to help re-establish the construction sector in our region as the single biggest contributor to the economic health of the wider community cannot be over estimated.
“While we all welcome the continued expansion of so-called new technology industries we can never afford to forget that the core of our economic recovery has to have at its centre the construction sector. The aim of the project is to build collaborative relationships for construction firms and as a result increase their turnover.
McGreevy believes that the ‘bottom line for all firms’ in a very competitive sector is to be able to offer ways in which they can deliver value for money when it comes to fighting for vital tenders. “The new joint programme will help focus on all areas of co-operation in terms of being able to offer a streamlined service to the client base,” he stated.
“The ultimate objective is to bring on stream new jobs while at the same time safeguarding the status of those already in employment. A lot of research of has gone into ensuring that when the wraps are taken off the scheme in a few month’s time it will be able to meet the demands and challenges of a rapidly changing economic and business environment.”
The SDLP Councillor stressed that the success of the project would not be based on firms working in isolation. “We want to move the construction industry across County Down on to a new level of expertise. The programme will involve participation by staff at all levels in a series of rolling workshops designed to enhance skills development.
McGreevy added, “It will include the use of trained mentors as part of the central objective to restore the fortunes of the industry locally.”
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