Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (120)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

120 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will review a decision to refuse a place on a JobsBridge scheme to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; if the person is entitled to sign for social welfare credits; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34046/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The National Internship Scheme was launched on 1st July 2011. It provides internship opportunities of either 6 or 9 months for unemployed individuals at all skills levels. The aim of JobBridge is to assist individuals in breaking the cycle where they are unable to get a job without experience. It provides them with an opportunity to gain valuable experience, relevant knowledge and skills within a working environment. The Scheme is open to organisations in the private, public and community or voluntary sectors.

The Scheme has made significant progress to-date. 8,406 internship placements have commenced since the launch of the Scheme in July 2011. There are currently 4,915 interns undertaking internship placements. In addition, there are in excess of 2,100 internship posts currently advertised on the JobBridge website www.jobbridge.ie.

The eligibility to access the National Internship Scheme is based on the overall objective of labour market policy in ensuring a pathway to appropriate employment, training and education opportunities.

For these reasons, it has been proposed as a matter of public policy that eligibility for the scheme be targeted at those in receipt of a Live Claim (Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit/One Parent Family Payment/Disability Allowance/Signing for Credits) for 78 days out of the last 6 months. Time spent of certain government sponsored training may also be taken into account when calculating eligibility. As such, the policy objective is to prioritise scarce resources to those in receipt of a Live Claim or on the Live Register so as to increase their chances of leaving it thereby ensuring a reduction in Exchequer costs over time. Therefore, the qualifying period is 3 months (78 days) for an individual in receipt of any of the qualifying payments listed above.

The person concerned is currently ineligible for a qualifying payment. I wish to advise that it appears from our records that the person concerned is eligible to sign for credits. In such cases, an individual who is unemployed and does not qualify for an unemployment payment, can sign-on for credits at their local Social Welfare Office. The individual would then get a credit for each full week of proven unemployment; i.e. that they are be available for work, genuinely seeking work and capable of work.

The person concerned could therefore apply at her local Social Welfare Office, Hanover Street provided she is capable of work. A Deciding Officer would then examine the claim and advise her of the outcome as soon as possible. Should the person concerned be successful, she would then become eligible for an internship placement in line with the qualifying period stated above.