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Employment Support Schemes

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Employment Support Schemes

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Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton)

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Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton)

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Snippet Contents:

In the first instance, the Government’s primary strategy to tackle unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth.
In addition to promoting economic recovery, the Government recognises the need for interim measures to support the unemployed and keep jobseekers close to the labour market. These actions range across a number of Departments and Agencies. Given the scale of the unemployment crisis, the key objective of labour market policy is to keep those on the Live Register close to the labour market and prevent the drift into long-term unemployment. Persons from the Live Register availing of activation measures will get an opportunity to engage in employment, training and work experience and so be in a position to avail of employment opportunities as the economy improves. As such, the policy objective is to prioritise scarce resources on those on the Live Register so as to increase their chances of leaving it thereby ensuring a reduction in Exchequer costs over time
In this context, the major elements of this Department’s response are set out in the Pathways to Work policy which is aimed at ensuring that as many as possible of the job vacancies that are created are filled by people from the Live Register, with a particular focus on those who are long term unemployed or at risk of long-term unemployment.
The Pathways to Work approach involves more regular and on-going engagement with people who are unemployed through active case management and profiling. There were almost 130,000 referrals of unemployed welfare recipients to the employment service in 2012. Employment services are delivered through the Department’s own offices and through a number of Local Employment Services funded by the Department.
My Department operates a number of programmes to support job seekers in moving towards employment. They range across a number of types of support:- work experience, temporary employment, self-employment, subsidised recruitment by employers, and financial support for unemployed people undertaking certain training and education courses.
In relation to work experience, some 5,900 people are currently participating on JobBridge (the National Internship Scheme). The total number of starters on JobBridge during 2012 was 9,575. The findings of the interim evaluation of JobBridge, by Indecon International Economic Consultants (published – 5th October 2012) found that 61% of finishers secured employment within five months of completing their internship. These progression rates compare favourably with European averages in this area and represent very significant progress in a short period of time.
The Department also manages a number of schemes providing temporary employment for the long-term unemployed on works and services of value to the community. There are currently 26,000 people participating on Community Employment and Tús. In addition, the Department also has responsibility for the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) which is aimed at low-income farmers and fishermen/women. There were just under 3,000 participants on the scheme in 2012. As part of Budget 2013, the Government approved 10,000 new places across CE, TÚS, JobBridge and a new social employment scheme (Jobstart) with the Local Authorities.
In relation to moving into self-employment, currently, almost 12,000 people are being supported under the Back to Work Allowance Enterprise Scheme (BTWEA) scheme and the Short-term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) scheme. BTWA is designed to encourage the long term unemployed to take up self-employment opportunities by allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of their social welfare payment plus secondary benefits over three years. STEA provides immediate support for someone in receipt of Jobseekers Benefit who wants to start a business.
In relation to subsidised recruitment by employers, the Department supports persons with disabilities entering employment through the Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Supported Employment Programme. The Wage Subsidy Scheme provides financial incentives to employers, outside the public sector, to employ disabled people who work more than 20 hours per week. The Supported Employment Programme is an open labour market initiative providing disabled people with supports to help them access the open labour market. It is implemented on behalf of the Department by sponsor organisations that employ Job Coaches to provide a range of supports tailored to the individual needs of a jobseeker. The ultimate outcome is that the employee becomes independent of Job Coach support. Over 4,500 persons benefited from this scheme in 2012.
In July of this year, the Government will launch The JobsPlus incentive scheme which will encourage employers to recruit long-term unemployed people. The new incentive will be payable monthly in arrears, over a 2-year period. There will be 2 levels of incentive: €7,500 for recruits unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24 months and €10,000 for recruits unemployed for more than 24 months. This new incentive will replace the Revenue Job Assist and the Employer PRSI Incentive schemes.
In terms of financial support for those undertaking up-skilling, the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) scheme run by my Department provides income maintenance for unemployed people returning to further or higher education. Almost 26,000 people participated in the BTEA in the last academic year. Some 61% of recipients pursued third level courses while 39% pursued courses described as being at second level. A majority of these second-level courses are Post Leaving Cert (PLC courses) undertaken in the further education sector.
Two further up-skilling options available are the Part-time Education Option (PTEO) and Education Training and Development Option (ET&D). In each case, jobseekers who wish to engage in part time day, evening or weekend courses or more intensive short duration courses of education and training may do so while retaining their jobseeker’s payments.
BTEA and PTEO have been used as a means of facilitating the participation of unemployed job seekers in a range of special programmes implemented by the Department of Education and Skills over the last few years under the Labour Market Activation Fund, Springboard, and Momentum. The last of these, Momentum, is currently being rolled out and will support the provision of free education and training projects to allow 6,500 long-term unemployed to gain skills and to access work opportunities in identified growing sectors
Up-skilling options are also supported by my Department under TESG (Technical Employment Support Grant) and TATS (Technical Assistance and Training scheme). There were just under 17,000 beneficiaries of TATS/TESG in 2011. Both TESG and TATS are designed to allow DSP to offer flexible additional help (in the form of access to training, advice, or support for the purchase of certain goods and services) to a number of categories of unemployed people. TESG support can be for purchase of training (where this cannot be provided by a state provider within a reasonable time) or for certain other expenditures such as purchase of tools, travel costs to job interviews. Training, with limited exceptions, must be on certified courses. TATs is more focused on jobseekers with an interest in self-employment, and can assist with the purchase of training/education/mentoring, equipment, advertising, and public liability insurance.
The Department’s budget for employment support schemes for 2012 and 2013 is set out in the table below. The total budget for employment support schemes is set to increase by €102.4m (10.7%) to €1,056.3m in 2013.
Expenditure Breakdown of Employment Support Schemes2012 Provisional Outturn2013 EstimatesChangeChange
-€'000€'000€'000%
     
Community Employment Programme330,399351,55021,1516.4%
Rural Social Scheme45,24245,000-242-0.5%
TUS - Community Work Placement67,05596,20029,14543.5%
Job Initiative          25,79425,100-694-2.7%
Jobstart015,74015,740n.a.
Community Services Programme45,39146,0606691.5%
Back to Work Allowance (BTWEA & STEA)127,156126,400-756-0.6%
National Internship Scheme - JobBridge54,73981,76027,02149.4%
Back to Education Allowance199,565189,300-10,265-5.1%
Local Employment Services (including Job Clubs)23,57325,1001,5276.5%
TESG\TATS7,80710,5002,69334.5%
Wage Subsidy Scheme10,56610,8502842.7%
Supported Employment programme8,1048,8407369.1%
Miscellaneous Other Employment supports8,59123,95015,359178.8%
Total Working Age - Employment Supports953,9831,056,350102,36710.73%