As the Deputy will be aware, the ‘Pathways to Work’ policy commits to the provision of more regular and on-going engagement and greater targeting of activation places and job opportunities for those who are unemployed. It also aims to increase engagement and incentivise employers to provide more jobs for people who are unemployed. One of the most significant elements of the Pathways to Work approach is the profiling of the Department’s clients to inform the approach taken to activation, and in particular to target those who are most likely to become long-term unemployed and to provide appropriate interventions at the earliest possible stage. Profiling of new claimants is now operational in all DSP offices; e.g. 53,800 new claimants were profiled to the end of 2012.
Further information about the Department’s clients is captured in follow up one-to-one meetings and in group engagement sessions with the Department. All of the information gathered about a client can be used to connect a client of the Department to the activation measures that will best suit their circumstances, including access to one of the Department’s schemes or assistance in getting a job.
The Department is also committed to increasing and enhancing its direct engagement with employers at local level and as part of the development of Intreo. A dedicated Employer Engagement Unit has been established and an Employer Engagement Manager is available in each region to support and advise employers at each stage of the employment process including the advertisement of opportunities and sourcing potential candidates from the Live Register. During Autumn 2012, a series of employer briefings were held nationwide to provide employers with practical advice and assistance on the full range of employment and financial supports available from the Department. Partly arising from feedback received at these briefings, the Department has developed a new recruitment incentive to encourage employers to recruit employees from the live register. This new incentive “Jobs Plus” was announced as part of the Action Plan for Jobs and will be launched for availability in July 2013.