Written Answers. - Part-Time Job Opportunities Programme.

Seán Haughey

Question:

140 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if he will support the Conference of Religious of Ireland who seek to have the part-time job opportunities programme made available nationally at the end of the pilot phase, extended in the areas where it currently operates, and the contracts of the 1,000 people already working on the programme extended for a further three-year period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9267/97]

The CORI part-time job opportunity programme is a three-year pilot programme which was scheduled to end in June 1997. Given that there will be wind down issues and that some individual projects did not start on time it will be end September before the programme is completely finished. CORI's involvement with the programme will cease at the end of May, as is their wish.

An evaluation of the pilot programme has been completed and considered by the Government. The evaluation points to a number of positive outcomes from the proposal such as allowing participants to remain on projects for three years and the introduction of spousal swops. These aspects have already been mainstreamed into Community Employment. Other innovations of the CORI concept such as the rate for the job approach are under consideration and discussions are ongoing with CORI to explore the feasibility of absorbing further elements of the pilot programme into mainstream programmes. The rate for the job approach has already been adopted in the pilot whole-time job initiative programme.
With regard to the existing sponsors-participants in the pilot programme, the Government has decided that: all suitable CORI sponsors who wish to convert to community employment will be allowed to do so, participants receive special guidance and counselling before the project comes to an end to help them get employment in the open labour market, and that the option of allowing participants a further year on community employment be maintained if it becomes necessary.