Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar plans to refer 60,000 unemployed people to JobPath by the end of the year.
Private sector operators of the Government’s JobPath scheme are paid a sequence of “job-sustainment fees” based on the length of time they keep people at work.
The programme, which targets long-term unemployed people on the Live Register, has been outsourced to two recruitment firms.
Turas Nua and Seetec are paid an initial registration fee for signing up candidates and then up to four “job-sustainment” fees – paid retrospectively for each 13-week period of accumulated employment of at least 30 hours a week.
The Irish unemployment rate remained at a post crash low of 7.8 per cent in June as conditions in the jobs market continue to improve, but Mr Varadkar said the long term unemployment rate remains too high.
“JobPath is another important programme which connects employers with people who are long-term unemployed, helping them with job applications and assisting with training,” he said.
The seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed was 169,100 in June 2016, a decrease of 500 when compared to the May 2016 figure or a decrease of 34,600 when compared to June 2015.
In the last 12 months, the number unemployed has fallen by 34,600, from 203,700 in June 2015 to 169,100.
Mr Varadkar said the unemployment level fell by 500 to 169,100 in the last month, the lowest level in eight years since September 2008.
“There were almost continuous monthly reductions in the rate of unemployment for 29 straight months from January 2014 onwards, and it remains steady in June below the key rate of 8 per cent,” he said.
Mr Varadkar said while there has also been significant progress in tackling long-term unemployment, we are lagging behind other EU countries.
“ The level of unemployment and particularly long term unemployment is still too high. We could and should be making more progress in assisting those who became unemployed following the crash, and have been unable to find work since,” he said.
Mr Varadkar said he will continue to work with the Labour Market Council on a series of “activation measures” to help the long term unemployed.
“These activation measures for people who have been long-term unemployed include JobsPlus, which provides employers with a subsidy to encourage them to take on long-term unemployed people.The vast majority of those who complete the programme are retained by an employer, and some 6,000 people have taken part so far, in most cases after being out of work for more than two years,” he said.
“I am also focused on the wage subsidy scheme which encourages employers to recruit people with disabilities. And later this year I will formally relaunch the JobsIreland website for jobseekers,”he said.