Only 18% of JobPath participants secured full-time work

Opposition parties call for ‘inefficient’ State employment support scheme to be wound up

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty has  ordered a full econometric review of the JobPath scheme which is expected to be completed this year. Photograph:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty has ordered a full econometric review of the JobPath scheme which is expected to be completed this year. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

Under a fifth of people who took part in the State’s JobPath scheme gained employment during its first year in operation, Government figures show.

JobPath was introduced in July 2015 as an employment stimulation measure for people on the live register for a year or more.

Entrants to the scheme receive an initial period of mentoring from an employment adviser lasting up to 18 months, and can continue to receive guidance for up to 12 months after securing a job.

The advisers are provided by two private contractors, Turas Nua which operates mainly across the south of the country, and English firm Seetec which oversees the scheme in Dublin and northern regions.

An analysis of JobPath participants carried out by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection between July 2015 and June 2016 found that out of a total of 39,603 people, 6,111 gained full-time employment while 4,312 withdrew or had their participation cancelled.

The proportion of people who entered full-time employment over the 12-month period was therefore 18 per cent of the total, which was above the minimum target rate of 14 per cent, while a further 4 per cent got part-time jobs and 3 per cent became self-employed.

Full review

A full-time job was counted as the person working at least 30 hours in a week.

The analysis indicated that the figures provided are only a “snapshot” of the scheme’s performance at a given point in time.

It was added that employment rates are expected to increase as more people complete the full 30-month cycle as “the longer clients have to avail of the service, the better the outcomes”.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty has since ordered a full econometric review of the JobPath scheme which is expected to be completed this year.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin’s social protection spokesman John Brady earlier this month, the Minister confirmed that 141,000 jobseekers engaged with the programme up to the end of 2017.

Of these over half were unemployed for more than three years, and a further 12 per cent had been out of work for over two years.

Ms Doherty outlined that the most popular categories of employment arising from the scheme were in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, sales, administration, cleaning, customer and food services.

Hidden talents

Jobseekers selected to take part in JobPath are said to receive assistance in areas such as identifying “hidden” talents and skills, identifying potential fields of work and searching for jobs, tailoring CVs and preparing for interviews as well as “building confidence and motivation”.

The department confirmed that €58.5 million has so far been paid to JobPath contractors for initial registrations and employment retention bonuses, but it refused to divulge the exact breakdown of fees given to each provider as this would “place the State at a disadvantage” for procurement purposes.

Opposition parties have labelled the scheme as being inefficient and say it should be wound up.