Belfast Telegraph

EU funds to help laid-off builders

Thousands of builders laid off because of the economic crash are to get a 36 million euro helping hand back to work under EU proposals.

The European Commission has indicated its intention to tap into the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGAF) to help retrain, re-skill and re-educate 6,000 former construction workers across Ireland.

The money will also be used to offer occupational guidance, vocational, second and third level education and training, enterprise and self-employment supports, as well as training allowances and income supports.

Another 19 million euro is to be added from the State coffers, under the plan for a 55 million euro fund targeting affected builders.

The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for their approval.

The fund will target a total of 9,089 redundancies from small and medium sized enterprises operating in the construction sector.

Those eligible for help will have lost their jobs as a direct consequence of the financial crisis.

Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation, said the help was welcome.

"Construction workers have been the most affected of any category of worker by the economic crisis in Ireland," he said.

"Over 170,000 direct construction jobs have been lost since the crisis began and during the year to date, four years after the first losses in the sector emerged, construction still accounts for half of the total employment and two-thirds of the male employment drop in the economy."

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