Tuesday, 5 February 2019
JobPath Programme: Motion [Private Members]
The JobPath scheme has proved to be lucrative for a number of private companies. This is a scheme that comes at a significant cost to the taxpayer. Up to the end of last year, fee payments made to the two contractors, Seetec Employment and Turas Nua, which deliver the scheme, had amounted to €149 million since 2015, a shocking amount that could have been better used to assist people back into employment. Seetec Employment and Turas Nua get money every time a person signs a personal progression plan. In addition, the two companies are paid job sustainment fees.
I have concerns about both the operators of the scheme, the results, or in reality the lack of results, of the scheme and the substantial costs to the taxpayer in running this scheme. Unemployed people do not have, nor can they expect to enjoy, equal rights and considerations as those enjoyed by working people, but JobPath seems to treat people almost as second-class citizens. I have heard of many instances where people are sent to jobs they clearly have no aptitude for or interest in and which are not remotely relevant to the qualifications and skills they have. People will have legitimate reasons they cannot participate in the scheme. If they are on the scheme and miss a day here or there, they face a range of sanctions such as closure or disallowance of the their jobseeker's claim. They can also be sanctioned by losing a portion of their welfare payments. The portion of their benefits lost can have an impact on individuals and their dependants. These people are struggling to pay bills and feed their families or keep a roof over their head.
It is a failed scheme and needs to be phased out. The primary beneficiary of the scheme seems to be the private companies making the big bucks, because it does not seem to be the unemployed people.