Tús, the community work placement initiative which was introduced during 2011, was set up to provide short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year. This initiative is being delivered through the network of local development companies and Údarás na Gaeltachta. Tús is designed to break the cycle of unemployment and maintain work readiness, thereby improving a person’s opportunities of returning to the labour market.
The duration of the Tús contract was set to reflect a number of inter-related elements. These include (i) the need to ensure that the limited numbers of placements available are opened to those on the Live Register, (ii) that weaknesses identified in other work programmes resulting from longer duration placements are not replicated with Tús, (iii) optimisation of the resources available and (iv) how Tús fits with the objectives set out in the Government’s activation policies in Pathways to Work.
I consider the existing 12-month period on Tús to be adequate to meet the programme’s objectives. It also ensures that as many unemployed people as possible are able to benefit from the initiative. There are no circumstances under which a person’s term on Tús will be extended beyond 12 months. Opportunities are available on community employment (CE) where a person is interested in pursuing a work placement that may have a longer duration in order to complete certified training. Time spent on Tús is considered eligible for accessing CE.
As of the week ending 27th June 2014, 18,243 participants and 418 full-time supervisory/ team leader personnel have been engaged on Tús since its inception in July 2011.