Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, has published a policy review of the various employment support schemes which aim to assist jobseekers in getting back to work.
The report follows the announcement in Budget 2013 that the Government will be investing €11m in employment schemes this year, including the roll-out of an extra 10,000 activation places (“activation seeks to ensure engagement with jobseekers so they can get the supports they need to find a job, training or educational opportunity”).
The key findings of the report are as follows;
- Community Employment (CE) to be strengthened as an activation programme. In addition, new focus is to be given to participants’ progression into employment following the scheme.
- Amalgamation of Community Employment (CE) and Tús. Tús is a community work placement scheme which has been providing short-term working opportunities for unemployed people since 2011.
- Selective expansion of temporary employment measures, such as the aforementioned employment schemes.
- Possible move of the Rural Social Scheme to a department or body that is engaged with the development of rural and community services.
- Review and refocusing of the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA), which includes the possibility of allowing certain shorter duration courses to be eligible for BTEA.
- Amalgamation of the Jobs Initiative and the Community Services Programme.
- Revisiting of the Work Placement Programme which could see the amendment of JobBridge and, subsequently, the closure of the Work Placement Programme to new entrants.
- Amalgamation of the Technical Employment Support Grant (TESG) and the Technical Assistance and Training Scheme (TATS).
- Possible transfer of the Small Credit Union Loan Guarantee Scheme to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
- Possible closure of the Part Time Job Incentive, due in part to the poor uptake of this scheme.
Further to the publication of the report, a stakeholder conference is due to take place in February which the Minister hopes will encourage further debate on the review.