Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Department of Social Protection
442. To ask the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the development and introduction of a new scheme to replace JobBridge; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33513/17]
JobBridge was introduced in July 2011 in response to the sharp and dramatic increase in unemployment. A robust external evaluation of the scheme conducted by Indecon Economic Consultants in 2016 found that it is one of the most effective labour market programmes – increasing participants’ employment outcomes by 32%. It also found that while participants rated the scheme positively on 18 out of 20 aspects measured, most were dissatisfied with the level of payment and a sizable minority rated the scheme negatively on some aspects, for example the quality of training offered.
Based on these findings, and taking account of the improvement in labour market conditions, Indecon recommended that JobBridge be discontinued in its current form and replaced with a new scheme. A copy of the full evaluation can be found at:.
The Labour Market Council welcomed the report and noted the positive employment impact of the scheme. A majority of the Council similarly recommended that JobBridge be replaced.
Having considered the evidence and the suggestions put forward by Indecon and the Labour Market Council, my predecessor as Minister for Social Protection announced his intention to replace JobBridge with a new work experience programme that would address criticisms of the scheme and would be better suited to the much improved labour market.
JobBridge was closed to new applications from 27th October 2016 to allow for a period of consultation with key stakeholders on design principles for any proposed new work experience programme and to facilitate an orderly wind down of the current scheme.
The consultation process is completed and I am currently considering options on how best to proceed.