Thursday, 4 March 2004

Questions (77)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

72 Mr. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will make a statement on the position regarding jobs initiative workers in view of the vital function they perform in many disadvantaged communities; and her views on whether job initiative workers must have full workforce entitlements while community organisations must be allowed to maintain vital services through the jobs initiative structures. [7352/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise)

Job initiative is a temporary work experience programme for persons 35 years of age or older who have been unemployed for five years or longer. Participants are offered temporary full-time employment for a period of three years. The fundamental objective of the programme is to prepare participants to progress into mainstream jobs.

A number of participants on job initiative, which was designed as a three-year programme, continue to have difficulty progressing from the programme to employment and have remained on the programme since its commencement. The lack of progression for such persons gives rise to concerns regarding the effectiveness of the programme.

Funding has been provided to ensure that target participation levels on the job initiative programme can be maintained at its current level for 2004, which is in the region of 2,200. However, the future structure of the community employment and job initiative programmes remains under review by a group of senior officials and FÁS, and this group will report to Ministers on the outcome of their deliberations shortly. Any decisions regarding the future structure of the job initiative scheme will be taken in that context.