Education Minister John O’Dowd has said schools will likely see 500 job losses for teachers and 1,000 for non-teaching staff due to £28m cuts to his budget. Meanwhile we keep churning out student teachers with no work for them.
Also today 200 jobs are to go at a call centre in West Belfast. Translink is also warning of 150 job loses, and also claiming it could go out of business. How a monopoly could go out of business is beyond me, but there you go.
Add this to the thousands who are due to take redundancy from the civil service this year and it is clear there is going to be a lot of people watching daytime TV.
Hopefully new jobs will be created to balance things out. Kainos is hiring 400 in Belfast.
The issue is going to be the types of jobs that are created. If you are in computers you are flying but other areas are not so rosey. If you are a working class kid with no trade or qualifications then your options can be very grim.
My own view is tourism could be our salvation. Tourism in Northern Ireland is around 10% of what it is in the Republic, so there is huge potential for growth. Tourism is great as it spreads the jobs around. Derry/Londonderry, Enniskillen, Glens of Antrim all have great tourist potential. There is one major downside to this. In order to attract the tourists we would need to give us our regularly orgies of destruction. As John Hume’s father told him: “You can’t eat a flag“, but we sure love trying.