A total of €837 million has been provided by my Department to FÁS in 2004. Of this, €366 million is allocated to employment programmes, €307 million to training and integration supports and €22.7 million for capital expenditure.
The allocation to employment programmes includes an amount of €351 million, which will support up to 25,000 places across the three major employment schemes, that is, community employment, job initiative and the social economy programme. This allocation is similar to that provided in 2003. Accordingly, participation levels over the three schemes in 2004 are being maintained at 2003 levels.
The allocation of €307 million to training and integration schemes in 2004 represents a 3% increase on 2003 investments. FÁS, through the prioritisation and efficient use of resources, will endeavour to maintain activity levels at 2003 levels.
The €22.7 million allocation to FÁS' capital subhead this year represents a 65% increase on the level of investment in 2003. This significant increase is being provided to allow FÁS upgrade its training centres and thereby provide improved services to trainees.
The breakdown of the funding between regions and schemes is a day-to-day matter for the board of FÁS within the overall policy guidelines set by my Department.