We have all been learning to live, work and run businesses in a world with COVID-19. Since the arrival of this global pandemic, our Government has announced and set in motion a number of supports and resources, some in the form of funding and others in the form of information and resources. The supports have evolved and have been amended along the way as the COVID-19 journey took its many twists and turns.
For anyone running a business staying on top of the guidelines and also the available supports whether it be payment schemes, grants, contributions has become vitally important.
To this end, HABIC recently organised another industry first – a Townhall Meeting. The panel on the day included Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English alongside:
- Declan Hughes, Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
- Cassandra Hinchy, Employer Relations Division, Department of Social Protection
- Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME
- Margaret O’Rourke Doherty, CEO of HABIC
The purpose of this event was to give you the opportunity to hear the answers to questions and to get clarification on any funding / support issues that you might have. Below is a recording of the event during which the panel addresses the questions and concerns submitted by HABIC and industry members.
This recent online meeting to examine the outlook of the hair and beauty sector post Covid-19 lockdown, highlighted the important role that the sector plays in the Irish economy. The Hair and Beauty Industry Confederation (HABIC) welcomed Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD; industry officials from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; the Department of Social Protection; and Neil McDonnell, CEO of Irish SME Association (ISME) to a virtual meeting with HABIC members and salon owners.
The event focused on the contribution of the hair and beauty sector to the economy, while acknowledging the efforts made by salons throughout the lockdowns in support of public health measures, and the Government’s commitment to supporting the sector. Minister Damien English TD thanked HABIC members for the incredible sacrifice they made during the crisis to limit the spread of the virus. The Minister acknowledged and recognised the cost that this sacrifice has had on many businesses in the sector and the supports needed to revive the sector.
While the industry still faces many problems such as employment issues, black-market trading and a skills deficit, Declan Hughes, Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment outlined some of the opportunities for the sector. Cassandra Hinchy from the Employer Relations Division of the Department of Social Protection spoke about the opportunities within the Department through the various offices such as INTREO and Jobs Ireland to get skilled workers back into the industry by coordinating with recognised skill trainers providing training, and linking skilled workers with appropriate available jobs.
Some key points for sector employees and salons owners include:
- Engagement between the industry, representative bodies and Government is a vital part of the recovery plan from Covid-19, and ongoing dialogue is required to ensure that the hair and beauty sector’s concerns are heard.
- The commitment of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to work alongside industry professionals to tackle the issue of black-market trading.
- Ongoing cooperation between business owners, the Department, and the Revenue office to obtain the information to address this issue.
- For employers to work with the Employer Relations Division that provide supports for their employees through subsidies as well as other bodies like INTREO and Jobs Ireland to develop training solutions for the industry.
- Business owners are encouraged to apply for Government supports where possible such as Covid Restriction Support Scheme (CRSS) or the Small Business Assistance Scheme for Covid from local authorities.
- With over 30,000 workers, the hair and beauty sector, as part of the larger SME community, is recognised as one of the key employers across Ireland, and requires the necessary supports to not only keep these businesses open, but to ensure they are sustainable into the future.
Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English T.D., said:
“Many Irish businesses in the Hair and Beauty sector have gone through a very difficult time over the course of the pandemic. I was really happy to engage with the sector in an online town hall meeting and hear first-hand the views of those who worked so hard to keep their customers safe and Covid19 out of salons. As the country looks forward towards a jobs-led economic recovery, it was important to have the discussions with the sector on renewed supports, business transformation, recruitment, training and much more.”
Chair of the Town Hall meeting and CEO of HABIC, Margaret O’Rourke Doherty, said:
“By working in cooperation with the Department and business associations, we can ensure that the hair and beauty industry continues to be a resilient and sustainable sector of the Irish economy. I would like to thank our panelists and attendees for joining the session to discuss challenges and opportunities facing the hair and beauty industry. In particular, I would like to thank Minister Damien English TD, Declan Hughes, Cassandra Hinchy and Neil McDonnell for participating as panelists and for their input to the discussion on what the future holds for the hair and beauty industry.”
We thank everyone who joined us on the day and who contributed to this milestone industry event. #HABICIreland #HABICtogether #stayinformed #strongertogether