Tuesday, 5 February 2019
JobPath Programme: Motion [Private Members]
A very significant amount of public money has been spent on JobPath. We were told it was €150 million. However, only 9% of those who were referred to the scheme have been in employment for 52 weeks. This represents a poor outcome for those who have participated on the scheme and poor value for taxpayers' money. Given the significant demands on public finances the Government should be more diligent in ensuring that private companies contracted to do work on behalf of the State are actually fulfilling their duties.
We have talked about this matter many times in the Dáil and I believe it is time for a change. The Minister, Deputy Doherty, referred to the 600 people. The only definite jobs here are those of the 600 people employed to provide these services. I am sure they are committed and professional people but unfortunately the scheme is not working.
People who are over the age of 55 and into their 60s are being put onto these JobPath schemes but to be honest these are people who have no chance in this wide, earthly world of getting a job. It is a form of elder abuse to put people over the age of 60 into these schemes and expect them to go out and try to get a job. We all know that they have no chance of ever getting such a job. It is wrong that this is happening.
I put it to the Minister that it is an awful lot of money. When I left school 30 of my classmates went on to AnCO, FÁS and those types of training schemes. Those people went and learned a trade, whether it was electrical, block laying, carpentry or plumbing. They went on to create jobs for themselves and a lot of work for many other people also. This is where the emphasis should be. We are aware of the great shortfall in the numbers of tradespeople. They will be needed because houses and factories have to be built. There is, however, nobody to do the work and this is where the emphasis should be. Let these people train the younger people who are fit to do this work. Emphasise that aspect and leave the older people on their community employment schemes where they do work which they feel is valued in their local communities, and where people appreciate the work they do. Do not force them into this false perception that they are going to get jobs. They are not going to get jobs. The Minister knows that and I know that.