Written Answers. - FÁS Schemes.

Michael Ring

Question:

126 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the help which is available for women who previously worked in the home rearing children to get them back into the workforce. [7973/01]

Michael Ring

Question:

127 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the help which is available to retrain women to get them back into the workforce. [7974/01]

Michael Ring

Question:

128 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will instruct FÁS to change the guidelines to make it easier for women to get on FÁS schemes when they have previously worked in the home rearing children for a number of years. [7975/01]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 126 to 128, inclusive, together.

FÁS actively promotes and assists women to return to the workforce after an extended absence due to caring responsibilities. All such women can avail of FÁS guidance, counselling and employment services. FÁS provides a return to work programme for women considering returning to the workforce. This programme is especially designed to assist women to plan and prepare for a return to work and is provided on both a full-time and part-time basis. Approximately 1,400 women complete this programme annually. Women have the option of progressing to skills training programmes at the completion of the return to work programme. In addition to this provision, many women planning to return to work avail of other FÁS training programmes such as specific skills training, enterprise training and community based training opportunities which are locally based.
In relation to participation on community employment, since last year provision has been made for dependant relatives of those who are eligible to participate on community employment to also participate in their own right. This has opened the way for spouses of those who meet the eligibility criteria to also participate on community employment programmes. Last year a total of 42, 820 females participated on FÁS training and employment schemes, accounting for 46% of total throughput.