The purpose of the gap between Community Employment (CE) scheme years is to maximise the number of places for new entrants. The vacant place can then be taken up by another eligible person. A full 52 week placement is deemed to be of sufficient duration for the majority of participants to become “job-ready”. Where further participation is deemed of benefit to the participant by the sponsor (employer), there is the facility to extend up to 10% of participants into another CE year under the Part-Time Integration Option of CE, with Departmental approval.
As part of the Individual Learner Plan process utilised on CE, exit planning and preparation is carried out. This includes information regarding participants’ options on exiting the programme, such as progressing into further training e.g. with the local Education and Training Board to enhance their skillsets and qualifications, or by availing of the services of the local Job Club to assist in gaining employment.
As a general rule, for a person who has exited CE to be considered for re-entry, 12 months need to have elapsed since any previous participation and he/she must have been in receipt of a CE-qualifying payment for that 12-month period (i.e. they requalify for further time on CE under the standard CE eligibility conditions). This is subject to availability of places and compliance with the participation time limits i.e. 3 years cumulative participation for those under 55 years of age, or 6 years cumulative participation for those of 55 years of age up to state pension age. Persons in receipt of a qualifying disability-related social welfare payment can qualify for 1 additional year’s participation on top of those maxima. While there are no immediate plans to alter this condition at present, CE eligibility conditions are kept under on-going review.