New job activation programme targets long-term unemployed

Pathways to Work has a 50 point plan and was launched yesterday

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Taoiseach Enda Kenny ,Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Education Minister Ruairi Quinn at the Digital Hub in Dublin at the launch of the Pathways to work scheme. Photograph: PA

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Taoiseach Enda Kenny ,Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Education Minister Ruairi Quinn at the Digital Hub in Dublin at the launch of the Pathways to work scheme. Photograph: PA

Fri, Jul 19, 2013, 01:00



A greatly increased focus on those who have been out of work for 12 months or more is the main change in the Government’s activation programme for unemployed people,Taoiseach Enda Kenny said.

“Pathways to Work 2013” is an update on the plan of the same name from February 2012 and devises a comprehensive plan of action for jobless people to find gainful employment.

Aspirations
The document contains a “50-point plan to fight long-term unemployment”. They incorporate many of the aspirations from last year’s plan but officials said yesterday that at least 25 are new innovations. These new elements include the youth guarantee scheme, a Europe-wide initiative to guarantee work or training for young people, which was agreed during Ireland’s EU presidency as well as the imminent involvement of the private sector for the first time in designing and managing job-activation schemes.

Main difference
The document was launched in the Digital Skills Academy in Dublin’s Digital Hub by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn.

Mr Kenny emphasised that the main difference between Pathways to Work 2013 and its 2012 predecessor was its emphasis on the long-term unemployed, those who were without jobs for 12 months and more.

“The first one was about engaging with people who had just been [made] unemployed. Pathways to Work Two deals with those who are longer term unemployed,” he said.

The new approach, which has been pushed heavily by the troika since late 2010, has involved wholesale changes to the way in which the State’s welfare, education and training systems are operated.

The Taoiseach argued that the era had come to an end where people went to the dole office, signed on and left.

Ms Burton said that the Intreo “one-stop shops” (where jobless people can get welfare payments and unemployment supports) would be extended to 43 social welfare offices nationwide by the end of the year (about two-thirds of the total number of offices).

Budget increase
The budget for places on work, training and education programmes will increase slightly from €977 million to just over €1 billion. Some 85,000 places will be made available.

Sources admitted it was not enough to make a big dent into the number of unemployed people (292,000) of which 60 per cent are classed as long-term out of work.

However, the plan pledges to move 75,000 of that longer-term cohort into work within two years.