Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Questions (241)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

241. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person who finishes a community employment scheme in June 2020 could be referred back to JobPath despite the fact that new referrals will cease at the end of 2019; if being on the scheme guarantees a person a year exemption from being referred to JobPath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40091/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

JobPath is a service which supports people who are long-term unemployed to secure and sustain full time paid employment.  Two companies, Seetec and Turas Nua, have been contracted by my Department to deliver the service. 

The JobPath employment service commenced in 2015 and, under the terms of the contracts signed with the providers, was to run for at least six years comprising two consecutive phases. Phase one entailed four years’ of client referrals, while phase two entailed a ‘run off’ period during which time no additional clients were to be referred.  Therefore client referrals were due to cease on 31st December 2019. The contract included an option to extend the term of referrals for a period no greater than two years.

As per an econometric review carried out by my Department, JobPath has been, and continues to be, a successful service in providing a comprehensive and value for money activation service for the long-term unemployed. On this basis, my Department triggered the extension provisions of the existing contracts with the JobPath providers and secured agreement on the extension of these contracts on existing terms and conditions for a further twelve months. 

This is not a renewal of the JobPath contracts but the execution of the extension clauses of the existing contracts.

This extension is important as it will ensure that the Government retains the necessary labour activation capacity to deal with any labour market uncertainty that arises as a result of Brexit.

With regard to Community Employment (CE) schemes, Jobseekers currently engaged on a CE scheme are not eligible for selection for the JobPath service.  On finishing a CE placement however, long term jobseekers will become eligible for activation services provided by my Department, including referral to JobPath. This ensures that the benefits of the experience and training that they received during their time on CE are maximised. 

If referred to JobPath they will receive one-to-one, intensive and regular engagement with a personal adviser who will assess their skills, experience, challenges and work goals and assist them in finding full-time sustainable employment.  This process will also help identify potential employment opportunities and offer support to the individual in overcoming any barriers to employment.

From 1st June 2018 all persons currently engaged with JobPath may also elect to take up a placement on CE whilst continuing to engage with their JobPath provider.  Application for participation on CE by JobPath customers is entirely voluntary and at their discretion.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.