Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): A fully integrated nationwide range of services and supports is available to Employers and Jobseekers through FÁS Employment Services, responsibility for which has been transferred to the Department. Jobseekers and Job Changers can register at one of the 63 local FÁS Employment Service Offices nationwide for on-site career guidance and job placement services.
FÁS also contracts with partnership companies and community organisations for the delivery of the Local Employment Service (LES) which provides career guidance/support in a further 25 locations throughout the country. In addition, FÁS Employment Services and the LES are the ‘Gateway’ to all FÁS training and employment programmes for Jobseekers and Job Changers. Further information for Jobseekers and Job Changers is available online at www.fas.ie., or from any one of the local FÁS Employment Service Offices nationwide.
In relation to receiving work experience, unemployed individuals will shortly be able to access the National Internship Scheme, which was announced as part of last month’s Jobs Initiative. The National Internship Scheme aims to provide those seeking employment, who have been on the Live Register for at least 3 months with an internship opportunity of 6 or 9 months in an organization in the private, public or community & voluntary sectors. The internships provided under this scheme will provide individuals with valuable work experience, which will enhance their skills and improve their prospects of securing employment in the future. The National Internship Scheme is due to be operational from the 1st July.
Another similar scheme, which may be of interest to those seeking employment is the FÁS Work Placement Programme. Under this scheme individuals can avail of a work placement of up to 9 months in duration. Participation on this scheme is not restricted to those on the Live Register. Details of how to avail of this scheme are available from the local FÁS Employment Service office or the FÁS websites www.fas.ie.
In addition to these programmes and services, my Department also operates a range of employment support measures designed to encourage and support social welfare recipients of working age to reduce their dependency on welfare payments. Supports available include the back to education programme and back to work schemes.
The Job Initiative is a FÁS programme providing full-time employment for people who are 35 years of age or over, unemployed for 5 years or more, and in receipt of social welfare payments over that period. The main purpose of the programme is to assist long-term unemployed people to prepare for work opportunities. The programme achieves this by providing participants with work experience, training and development opportunities. The programme is sponsored by groups wishing to benefit the local community, namely voluntary organisations, public bodies and those involved in not-for-profit activities.
Following changes introduced to the Job Initiative scheme by the then Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment in 2004, there is currently no recruitment onto the scheme while existing participants will have their contracts renewed. There are no plans currently under consideration to lift the embargo on recruitment or to introduce changes to the programme.
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