Written Answers. - Job Initiative.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

70 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position of participants on the jobs initiative scheme; if her attention has been drawn to the uncertainty affecting participants and the inability of sponsoring projects to plan for the future; if she intends the Social Economy Programme to absorb some job initiative participants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7126/01]

The jobs initiative programme is an active labour market programme for persons unemployed for five years or longer and over 35 years of age. The programme was introduced as a pilot in 1996-97 with 1,000 places available on phase 1. The level of available places on the programme has remained constant since 1999 at 2,875 and will remain at this level for the foreseeable future.

A small number of the phase 1 participants still remain on the programme. It is intended that certain of these participants will avail of the new high supports process being developed by my Department in consultation with the social partners. The new process will target persons identified as having difficulties in getting and keeping a job in the open labour market due to personal barriers such as age, health, literacy and numeracy factors.

Other phase 1 job initiative participants who have completed their personal development plans and are ready to progress to open labour market employment are being offered further support by FÁS in the form of participation in jobs clubs to assist them in identifying suitable job opportunities.

It is intended that the job initiative programme will run as a three-year programme in future years and the development needs of individuals will be addressed during this period.

I anticipate that some social economy projects will be in a position to offer employment to par ticipants leaving job initiative. However, this will largely depend on the nature of the job being offered by the social economy project and the relevance of the job initiative workers skills-experience to that job.