Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (512)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

512. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Social Protection if an extension of employment on a community employment scheme will be facilitated for a person (details supplied) given continued occupational focus would be greatly beneficial to the person. [7166/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

In general CE placements for new entrants aged between 21 and 55 years are for one year. CE participants who are working towards a Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) major award can seek to extend their participation on CE by up to two years to enable them to reach the required standard of qualification. CE participants aged 55 years or older can remain on CE for three years and do not have to work towards a QQI major award.

In either scenario, a maximum of three consecutive years (four if the participant has moved to CE from a disability payment) participation is permitted. A person may re-qualify for CE after a 12-month break once they satisfy the qualifying conditions. An overall lifetime limit of six years applies to all CE participants (seven years for those participants that have moved to CE from a disability payment).

The person concerned was due to complete her time on CE on 05/02/2021 having had the benefit of participation on CE for a period of four years. However, due to COVID-19 level 5 restrictions she was granted a further extension to 26/03/2021. As she has reached the limit of her current eligible time on the programme, no further participation can be granted at the present time.

During her time on CE, the person concerned received relevant work experience in the area of youth work and has completed QQI certification in Group Work, Theory & Facilitation Skills, Youth Work, Working with Young People, Games with Young People, Introduction to Community Development and First Aid Response.

In advance of leaving the Community Employment project, the CE Supervisor will help the person concerned to prepare an exit plan to assist her return to the labour market.

On finishing CE, the person concerned may avail of my Department's Activation service who will work with her to ensure that the benefits of the experience and training she received during her time on CE are maximised. A Case Officer will assess her skills, experience, challenges and work goals and assist her in finding suitable and sustainable employment. This process will also help identify potential employment opportunities and offer support to her in overcoming any barriers to employment.

The priority for my Department is to ensure that all employment and activation programmes have the best outcomes for participants. CE will continue to be made available to support those who are long term unemployed and furthest removed from the labour market, while maintaining the role of CE as an active labour market programme.

I am fully committed to the future of this programme and will continue to support and improve the programme for the benefit of the CE participants and the valuable contribution being made to local communities through the provision of services.

I trust this clarifies the matter.