The aim of the Community Employment (CE) programme is to enhance the employability of disadvantaged and unemployed people by providing work experience and training opportunities for them within their communities. The programme helps break the cycle of unemployment and improve a person’s chances of returning to the labour market. CE is generally open to applicants aged between 21 and 66 years.
A number of new conditions were introduced on CE in July 2017 to further support progression and broaden access to CE to a wider range of people. In general all CE placements for new entrants aged between 21 and 55 years are for 1 year – however CE participants, working towards a major educational award, can seek to extend participation by up to two years to enable them to reach the required standard of qualification. In addition, those over 55 years of age can remain on CE for three years.
Participants over age 62 are allowed to participate on a continuous basis up to the State Pension age on the CE Service Support Stream (SSS), subject to availability of places on the SSS, satisfactory performance by them on the scheme and, subject to annual approval by the Department. The places allocated for these participants within each individual CE scheme are subject to certain limitation criteria.
If the Deputy could provide more information on the matters raised, and the particular concerns of the person whose details were provided, I will have my officials look at the case in question in light of the request for a meeting.