Written answers

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Department of Social Protection

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Photo of Patrick NultyPatrick Nulty (Dublin West, Independent)
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354. To ask the Minister for Social Protection if she will amend the eligibility for community employment schemes to allow persons aged 18-22 years to participate in same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2546/14]

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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The current eligibility rules do not extend generally to persons under 25 years. Community Employment (CE) is not generally intended for persons under 25 years of age as there are other more appropriate and suitable interventions for that cohort, for example, training programmes provided under the Local Education and Training Boards (ETBs). However, the Department is prepared to consider in certain circumstances, supporting on a limited basis innovatory proposals that are tailored to meet the needs of persons between 20- 25 years. This would involve the provision of a FETAC Major Award as part of the Employment Programme as well as work-based learning with a target of gaining employment as the main outcome. Participation will also be of limited duration. However, the priority provision for young people is as outlined above through Solas and the ETBs.

For those who do not meet the CE eligibility criteria they are advised to contact their local DSP Intreo / Employment Services Office where an Employment Services Officer will be happy to discuss the employment and training options that are open to them.

Photo of Patrick NultyPatrick Nulty (Dublin West, Independent)
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355. To ask the Minister for Social Protection if she will allow persons who have successfully undertaken a year on the TUS scheme to be able to do a second year if the organisation in which they are based wants them to continue. [2547/14]

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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Tús, the community work placement initiative introduced during 2011, was set up to provide short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year. This initiative is being delivered through the network of local development companies and Údarás na Gaeltachta. Tús is designed to break the cycle of unemployment, and maintain work readiness thereby improving a person’s opportunities in returning to the labour market.

The duration of the Tús contract was set to reflect a number of inter-related elements. These include the need to ensure that limited numbers of placements available are opened to those on the live register, that weaknesses identified in other work programmes resulting from longer duration placements are not replicated in Tús, optimisation of the resources available, and how Tús fits with the objectives set out in the Government’s activation policies in Pathways to Work.

It also ensures that as many unemployed people as possible are able to benefit from the initiative. As of the week ending 10 January 2014, 7,123 participants were working and in receipt of a payment on Tús. An additional 369 full-time supervisory/team leader personnel had been engaged by the implementing bodies for Tús. Since its inception in July 2011, some 14,642 participants have completed 12 months on Tús.

There are no circumstances under which a person’s term on Tús will be extended beyond 12 months and I consider the existing 12-month period on Tús to be adequate to meet the programme’s objectives.

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