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Employment Support Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (41)

Steven Matthews


41. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Social Protection the status of the commitment to develop a Traveller and Roma training, employment and enterprise strategy as committed to in July 2021 under Pathways to Work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57932/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

As the Deputy is aware, the Government adopted its new employment services strategy, ‘Pathways to Work 2021 – 2025’, in July. This strategy, which represents Government’s overall framework for activation and employment support policy, aims to assist those whose jobs have been lost due to COVID-19 to return to the workforce, along with those who were unemployed prior to the pandemic and those facing higher barriers to employment. Members of the Traveller and Roma communities are two such groups that face particular barriers to work and other additional challenges. Unfortunately, this is reflected in the employment and unemployment levels of these communities.

The commitment to which the Deputy refers, ‘to develop a Traveller and Roma Training, Employment and Enterprise Plan’, is of paramount importance. Work on delivering this commitment will commence shortly and is due to be completed by the end of Q2 2022. This work will be undertaken by my Department working closely with Minister of State Joe O’Brien T.D., as well as colleagues from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment (DETE), the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS), SOLAS and other appropriate stakeholders.

This is only one of a range of commitments the Government has made to address challenges facing these communities. Other commitments in the Pathways to Work strategy include to:

- Explore the feasibility of introducing Traveller (and/or Roma)-specific Group Information Sessions over the lifetime of the strategy;

- Engage with community representative bodies to produce Traveller (and/or Roma)-specific employment service engagement tools;

- Consult with stakeholders from the Traveller (and/or Roma) community to advise the Public Employment Service;

- Consider making the higher level of the JobsPlus subsidy available to all employers who recruit an unemployed person of Traveller or Roma ethnicity;

- Further develop specific Community Employment schemes for Travellers and Roma;

- Deliver a bursary programme, as set out in the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025, to fund up to 100 apprentices per annum who are experiencing socio-economic disadvantage and who are from target groups, including lone parents, people with disabilities, Travellers and Roma.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.