The Department of Economic Development has increased the support and investment available for local people and businesses in 2016/17 leading to low unemployment and the highest ever job vacancies advertised at the JobCentre.
Last year the Department invested over £4.5million in local businesses, including £300,000 via the Micro Business Grant Scheme, approximately £3million via the Financial Assistance Scheme and has completed the first deals of the new £50million Enterprise Development Scheme.
As well as supporting local businesses, the Department has been actively working with a large number of individuals to develop skills and reduce unemployment. This has included a £300,000 investment in training opportunities and the development of three new apprenticeship schemes.
There are now more jobs available on the Isle of Man than ever before, with a 10% increase in job vacancies advertised at the JobCentre - a record 932 listed in March 2017. This is matched by low levels of unemployment with 507 registered on Job Seekers Allowance giving a rate of 1.2% unemployment in March 2017.
Through targeted and joined up efforts between the Department, Treasury and the Department of Education and Children, long term unemployment has almost halved (126 registered) since 2014. The Department has also played an active and critical role in efforts to reduce youth unemployment leading to a 75% reduction since 2013 (148 registered under the age of 25).
Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for the Department of Economic Development, commented:
‘The numbers from 2016/17 are showing a strong and confident economy, with a buoyant job market and encouraging target sector growth. This hasn’t happened by accident, the Department has been actively supporting individuals and businesses to reach their full potential by introducing a number of new initiatives including skills training and financial assistance. We now have a record level of schemes and assistance available to support the Island’s economy and we remain committed to investment in our local people and businesses.
‘There have been some great examples of growth over the past year and the Department has been instrumental in creating a complete ecosystem to support economic growth on the Isle of Man. The Programme for Government clearly states a commitment to an ‘Enterprise and Opportunity Island’ where local entrepreneurship is supported and thriving and more new businesses are choosing to call the Isle of Man home and the Department is integral in moving this forward.’
The Department’s Financial Assistance Scheme, which helps existing businesses to expand and new ones to establish, approved offers to 40 separate companies in 2016/17 for support totalling approximately £3million. This investment will be matched by a further £6million investment from the companies themselves, resulting in over £9million local economic investment stimulated through the scheme. A third of these are new businesses, attracted and nurtured by the high quality environment and supportive ecosystem. The remaining are existing Isle of Man businesses looking to grow. It is estimated that up to 280 jobs will be created as a result of this investment.
The Department’s Micro Business Grant Scheme is aimed at individuals looking to start their own business. In the last 12 months 62 new businesses were created through the scheme and over 180 people received business training, an increase of 26% from 2015/16.
The £50million Enterprise Development Scheme has seen high levels of interest over the past 12 months, with the first deals now completed resulting in an investment of over £1.2million. The scheme is now well on the way to supporting the creation of additional jobs for the Isle of Man over its five year lifetime.
The Department has been actively supporting individuals to reach their full potential by introducing a number of new initiatives including skills training and apprenticeships. These are outlined below:
- Training and apprenticeships have seen great investment in 2016/17, with 416 people enlisted in apprenticeships (a 19% increase from 2015/16).
- The Department introduced three new apprenticeships in 2016, bringing the total available up to 13.
- There has been a particular focus on ICT skills training, with the JobCentre training 210 clients as part of their in-house ICT training and a new ICT apprenticeship scheme created in conjunction with MICTA and the Department of Education and Children.
- The Department has provided over £300,000 of training assistance to more than 1,000 individuals looking to develop their careers through professional training and vocational qualifications.
- The Department has worked with employers to create more than 450 work placements and supported more than 1,000 students with career advice.
- Throughout the past year, the JobCentre has supported over 20,000 client visits, with the disability advisers working with over 300 clients.
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