Written answers

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Department of Social and Family Affairs

Social Welfare Benefits

12:00 pm

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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Question 261: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will permit persons who are unemployed and eligible for back to education allowance to participate even if they have previously participated in a post leaving certificate course at the same level but now wish to make a career change. [44411/09]

Photo of Mary HanafinMary Hanafin (Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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The objective of the back to education allowance (BTEA) scheme is to equip people on social welfare payments with qualifications that will enable them to obtain employment in the labour market.

In general, to qualify for the scheme a person must be progressing in education by reference to the National Framework of Qualifications. A BTEA application will not be approved in respect of a person who holds a qualification equivalent or higher than the qualification for which the BTEA application has been received. However, each case is treated on its merits and consideration can be given to approving an application in exceptional circumstances. Factors taken into account would include the length of time since obtaining the first qualification, efforts to get employment with the qualification already held and periods of unemployment since obtaining the qualification currently held. The main consideration in such cases is that the proposed further qualification will enhance substantially the person's employment prospects.

The Government recognises that the back to education scheme has an important role to play in enhancing the employability skills of jobseekers. The conditions of the scheme will continue to be monitored in the context of the objectives of the scheme and changes in the economic climate. All social welfare schemes are being examined as part of the deliberative process in advance of the annual budget.


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