Tuesday, 5 February 2019
JobPath Programme: Motion [Private Members]
JobPath has been an abject failure for the people who have engaged with it, virtually throughout Ireland. In my constituency, everyone engaged in the JobPath process with whom I have spoken has said so. I am not just talking about those who have entered the scheme and found that it did not work for them because they did not find the kind of job they wanted. People who found jobs they wanted said they would have got the jobs anyway and that JobPath had nothing to do with it. The figures mentioned in the Government's amendment outlining the people who have found jobs and the success of people finding employment have nothing to do with JobPath. The vast majority of them would have found jobs in any event. The Government has recklessly wasted millions of taxpayers' euros on a scheme that is a failure, and it needs to admit this. In fact, I do not care whether it admits it. Its members can stand up in the Chamber and say it is grand, but in the next couple of months, the Government should slowly put it away and we can all forget about it. It needs to happen quickly.
Many people who may be in a precarious position in life and who find it difficult to get a job need support rather than pressure. As we all know, it is a fine line between how one interprets support and pressure, but everyone in that circumstance whom I know and who has engaged with JobPath has found it a pressurised process that has put them in a position where they are unable to face looking for a job they want because it has destroyed their confidence, not enhanced it.
There is also an issue with people slightly more advanced in life. A woman who lives near me ended up in one of the situations I have outlined. For 12 years she looked after her elderly parents, but in her early 60s she found herself alone at home, after her parents had died. She had not worked in a job for many years since she worked in a shop for a while in her younger days. JobPath contacted her but the job it wanted to give her was at a KFC fast-food restaurant 14 miles away and she had no car to get to it. It was ridiculous. We must all acknowledge that kind of problem.
Approximately two years ago, I told the House that I had watched a film, "I, Daniel Blake" by Ken Loach, at the cinema. It was based on the premise that a similar type of model which was used in Britain for a long time was a failure that failed the people it set out to help. It is time to quietly fold up this tent and take it away because it does not work for anyone.