Gateway is a new initiative between my Department and county and city councils, the objective being to providing 3,000 part-time quality work placements by the end of the first quarter 2014. Participants will be randomly selected for this initiative by this Department from those on the Live Register for 24 months or more and currently in receipt of a jobseekers payment. Those agreeing to be considered then have their contact details referred to the appropriate council for recruitment. Participants will be offered the opportunity to work for up to 22 months only and will receive a payment equivalent to their rate of jobseeker's allowance plus €20 per week, with a minimum payment of €208 per week.
The design of Gateway has been largely completed and local authorities have been engaged in a process of identifying the nature and range of work opportunities that can be made available across their administrative and operational areas. The primary focus of Gateway is to improve the employability and work readiness of participants by providing them with opportunities to put their work skills into practice and to learn new skills to enable them to progress to work, further education or other development opportunities. In line with Pathways to Work, Gateway will provide, for those selected, opportunities to maintain work readiness and to bridge the gap between unemployment and re-entering the workforce.
County and city councils will have primary responsibility for identifying and arranging for the delivery of training requirements. The Government has provided funding of €2.835 million from the Dormant Accounts Fund to defray the costs of inputs and compliance/training costs. The process of identifying work opportunities is currently underway in each county and city council, including the necessary consultation with stakeholders.