The key objective of activation policy and labour market initiatives has been to offer assistance to those most in need of support in securing work and achieving financial self-sufficiency. Accordingly the employment services and schemes provided by the Department are focused in the first instance on the cohort of people who are unemployed and in receipt of a social welfare payment (either Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit).
Despite this focus, access to training and employment programmes is also open to other groups under certain circumstances.
The main training opportunities open to unemployed people receiving social protection payments are through ETB (formerly FÁS) training for unemployed people, or, if they have been signing for six months or more, through the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS). Unemployed persons not in receipt of payments, but signing for credits, are also eligible to avail of training opportunities under these schemes. In these cases, such participants do not receive a training allowance but may receive travel and lunch allowances from the ETB.
There are no plans to make changes to these arrangements at present.
The Government is committed to supporting as many people as possible to participate more fully in employment and to become more self-sufficient by providing supports that address barriers they may encounter in finding and sustaining employment.