Tuesday, 5 February 2019
JobPath Programme: Motion [Private Members]
The Minister said that she had presented the facts about JobPath. I argue that she has actually presented a particular version of the facts. The Minister said that 206,000 people have engaged with JobPath and, of those, 41,000 went into full-time employment and 5,000 went into part-time employment. Of the 41,000 in full-time employed only 9% went beyond 12 months. These figures also mean that 160,000 participants got no employment whatsoever. I believe that this is the more significant number. The Minister said that it came to €790 of taxpayers' money per individual. I would look at this in a different way. If we take the 46,000 jobs that were created - a figure presented by the Minister but which I would say is arguable - this means it cost €3,478 per individual who went back into work, and only 9% of those worked beyond 12 months. The facts that the Minister has presented, if taken in a different way, can present a very different picture that serves to illustrate that JobPath is not working.
The initial intention of JobPath was to create a situation to get people back to work, and of course we support job activation measures. Those people who can work should work, and nobody is suggesting otherwise. Part of the focus of JobPath was to get people off the live register, and it suited the Government to get those figures down. It is deeply concerning when the Minister says that 6,000 customers were interviewed to see what their experience of JobPath was like. Citizens engaging with the State to get back to work should never be referred to as "customers". They are citizens. Therein lies the inherent problem. We have two private companies - Seetec and Turas Nua - doing the job that the State should be doing. Yes they are doing a job contracted for by the State but they are also private companies operating to make a profit. I have no difficulty with companies seeking to make a profit but I have a serious difficulty with private companies doing work the State should be doing. I ask the Minister to reconsider her amendment and to see that the time has come to put JobPath behind us.