Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (646)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

646. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to extend the community employment scheme objectives to allow for extensions of time beyond three years for older employees that have little chance of gaining full-time employment in the workforce (details supplied). [27717/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Community Employment (CE) is an employment and training scheme which helps long-term unemployed people to re-enter the active workforce by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to work routine. The scheme assists by enhancing and developing a person’s technical and personal skills which can then be used in the workplace. The very significant improvement in the number of people in employment and concomitant reduction in unemployment is a strong testament to the Government's job creation and pathways to work strategies which is ensuring employment opportunities across all age groups and in all regions.

All CE participants age 55 and over can avail of 3 consecutive years on a CE scheme. As CE is intended to be a stepping stone to employment for participants rather than a long-term placement, there is an overall lifetime limit of participation on CE of 6 years from 1st January 2007 (7 years if on a disability payment).

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government agreed to establish an Interdepartmental Group (IDG) to explore how social inclusion schemes might best be organised into the future including which Department should hold lead responsibility for sponsoring CE schemes focused on social Inclusion. The deliberations of the group will also inform any further consideration to review participation limits.