Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (344)

Niall Collins


344. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to concerns being expressed regarding the regulation through which a person attempting to return into the workforce after raising their family is not eligible to commence a community employment scheme due to the fact the person is not in receipt of a payment from her Department; if she has given consideration to the matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12611/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Community Employment (CE) is an active labour market programme with the emphasis on progression into employment and/or further education and training. It is designed to break the cycle of long term unemployment and maintain work readiness, thereby improving a person’s opportunities of returning to the open labour market.

In order to qualify for CE, a number of conditions including age and being in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for a specific period must be met.

My Department also provides a range of services to unemployed persons who are not in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment. These include advice on job-search activities, the use of online job search tools in Intreo Centres nationally, upskilling opportunities through Educational Training Boards (ETBs), Springboard and Skillnet courses. Persons signing for credits for six months or more can also participate on ETB-run VTOS courses, subject to availability. In the case of VTOS courses, participants do not receive a training allowance but may receive travel and lunch allowances.

My Department and 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.

As the Deputy will be aware, the key objective of activation policy and labour market initiatives is to offer assistance to those most in need of support in securing work and achieving financial self-sufficiency. This policy objective prioritises scarce resources to those in receipt of qualifying welfare payments.

Accordingly, the employment services and schemes provided by my Department are focused, in the first instance, on this cohort of unemployed people who are in receipt of a qualifying payment.

If the Deputy has a particular case in mind perhaps he would contact my Department with the details.