Waterford Crystal workers received their first information on the new EU globalisation fund aid at a meeting in the city on Monday night organised by South Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly.
Two thirds of the near-€4 million fund – amounting to €5,600 per worker in Waterford’s case – comes from Brussels.
The money will be spent on training and development, or if the Waterford workers see fit, more on self-employment.
New projects started by ex-‘Glass’ employees within two years of the factory’s closure in March 2009 will qualify.
The maximum amount allowable is €25,000 for worker projects approved by enterprise boards. WIT, Fas, and VECs will also be handling the funds for courses undertaken.
Waterford qualifies because over 500 workers were affected by the Crystal closure. Though the funding has to be approved by the EU Parliament, it’s virtually guaranteed.
Peter Jorgensen from Denmark was one of the European officials who made a presentation to about 80 workers at the Granville Hotel.
Some of the stories from workers were positive about new business launches, while others showed frustration about courses not being suitable etc. Better skills assessment and more tailor-made courses will be needed, it was stressed.
Senator Paudie Coffey was very strong on this point and said the fund would not be just a vehicle for some training agencies to use up money and fill numbers on courses.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.