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Written Answers - Training Programmes

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 191.  Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the eligibility criteria for those 9,000 construction workers who were included in the globalisation funding; and who defined who was eligible and who was excluded under the european globalisation adjustment fund scheme and those who are not. [16389/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciaran Cannon Zoom on Ciaran Cannon On 9 June 2010, the Department submitted an application for co-funded assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in respect of 9,089 former workers made redundant in the construction industry during the nine-month EGF reference period between 1 July 2009 and 31 March 2010. In the case of this EGF application, the subsequent ten-week application submission period ended on 9 June 2010. This proposal sought to maximise the number of eligible redundant workers for co-financed assistance as far as practically possible. I understand the aggregated application submitted contains collectively the largest number of redundant workers to be encompassed in an EGF application to date. However, of the utmost importance is the requirement for the Irish authorities to be able to verify the cohort who are deemed eligible for EGF supports and to ensure all the relevant criteria of the fund are met in respect of that cohort. For this purpose, this Department used data from the statutory redundancy payments system. This is a demonstrably verifiable source of data such as is deemed sufficient to satisfy both national and EU audits and control checks. Furthermore, these data [774]were complemented by additional material on redundant apprentices from the apprenticeship database held by FÁS. Those redundant workers who were ultimately included in the EGF application were identified on the basis of the most recent recorded date of registration for a statutory redundancy payment as at 28 April 2010.

I appreciate the frustration which can arise for those redundant workers who fall outside the reference period. However, I should point out that a host of other non-EGF aided supports may be available to these persons, including a wide range of active labour market interventions which are available to all qualifying redundant workers, provided by FÁS, the Vocational Education Committees and the County Enterprise Boards and the higher education system, subject to the meeting of the relevant criteria of existing schemes in individual cases. For example, FÁS runs the Professional Networking and Support Programme, which is open to all professionals and available through their local Employment Services Office. Free part-time higher education places were launched as part of the Springboard initiative and are available to unemployed people to reskill in areas of identified skills needs. Last month, more than 500 additional places were made available on courses that had exceptionally high demand when first run in 2011. Some €10 million has been made available for the roll-out of Springboard 2012, which will be available in May 2012, following a competitive tendering process. More than 750 free places are being provided on 17 new graduate ICT skills conversion programmes. The programmes allow those with the appropriate qualifications to convert their skills during an intensive course of study in a higher education institute and a corresponding work placement in a collaborative company. Details of the Springboard and ICT Skills Conversion programmes are available on www.bluebrick.ie and participants can apply online at this website.


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