Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Jobsearch Programme.


asked the Minister for Labour (a) the number of people interviewed under the Jobsearch programme up to 31 December, 1988; following on from these interviews, the number of people placed in full-time, permanent jobs; the number sent on FÁS courses; and whether these Jobsearch course placements were net additions to the normal work of the National Manpower Service.

The number of people interviewed under the Jobsearch programme during the period 1 January, 1988 to 31 December, 1988, was 58,349. The number of job placements recorded by FÁS following Jobsearch interviews in 1988 was 6,266. A total of 45,084 persons obtained places on FÁS courses and programmes under the 1988 Jobsearch programme broken down as follows:— Jobsearch Training Course, 11,656; FÁS mainline training course, 16,915 and FÁS employment schemes and programmes, 16,513.

The National Manpower Service was absorbed into FÁS with effect from 1 January, 1988 and all the activities mentioned are now part of the normal work of FÁS.

The Jobsearch interview and the Jobsearch training course were new initiatives specially developed for the National Jobsearch Programme.

The Minister conceded that the figures for 1988 exceeded his expectations. He said in the House that he had anticipated that 30,000 or 40,000 people would be interviewed under the FÁS scheme. We now discover that 58,000 people have been interviewed. In the first nine months since the introduction of the Jobsearch programme 140,000 people were interviewed. In view of the fact that to date, 6,266 people only have been successful in securing employment, will the Minister agree that the Jobsearch programme has not been a success?

The actual figures for 1988 were slightly less than the figures given. The Jobsearch programme was to try and help unemployed people, to give them skills, training or re-training as the case might be. FÁS cannot guarantee jobs that are not there for the people they interview. Since FÁS were established they have found 10,000 real jobs. That is not to say they are the only jobs arising from the efforts of FÁS. A survey of the social employment schemes has shown that a large number of people on those schemes obtained employment in their own right. The 10,000 people I referred to were recorded on the FÁS register. FÁS, from an employment point of view, have been quite successful but it would be wrong to view Jobsearch from the point of view of employment alone. The people who are referred to FÁS for training derive great benefit from that. While the survey shows that a lot of people are not happy to be on the scheme and that some people do not want to be in any scheme, the majority are happy with it. Our latest survey on social welfare schemes shows that only 12 per cent of the people who worked on social employment schemes last year were unhappy. That is not a high percentage.

We must now come to deal with other Questions. I will allow a brief question from Deputy O'Sullivan.

The Minister is essentially saying that there was a 5 per cent success rate. It could equally be said that there is a 95 per cent failure rate. Some of the people who partook in FÁS courses did not benefit a great deal from them. A young lady I know would not be entertained at the local employment exchange simply because she would not go on a FÁS course, She did not see why she should go back and do another course with them——

I am anxious to facilitate the Deputy but we must proceed by way of questions.

Would the Minister not agree that the real saving was to the Exchequer in getting a number of people off the unemployment register?

I do not deny that there was a saving in that area but that is not what Jobsearch is about.

Is the Minister prepared to say how much was saved?

That is a matter for the Minister for Social Welfare. If we were only to train people for the jobs we have we would not train many people and our young people and people who require re-training would lose great opportunities to get a second chance. The Deputy would not wish that to happen. Jobsearch, along with the other programmes, has been very successful. Naturally, I would like to see more people employed but that relates to the pick up in the economy and it is a slightly different matter. In the meantime we should not avoid training people.