Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Community Employment Schemes Operation
1132. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the career and job pathways for persons who complete community employment schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2819/20]
The aim of the Community Employment (CE) programme is to enhance the employability of disadvantaged and unemployed people by providing work experience and training opportunities for them within their communities. The programme helps break the cycle of unemployment and improves a person’s chances of returning to the labour market. Participation on CE is intended to be for a temporary fixed-term period.
CE participants, as well as gaining valuable work experience can also, and are encouraged to, work towards a major educational and training awards to enhance their employability in the labour market. If a participant avails of such opportunities he or she can seek to extend their participation by up to two years to enable them to reach the required standard of qualification. This can be a very worthwhile pathway to securing qualifications that will help secure full-time and sustainable employment.
Other pathways are also available to CE participants to help secure employment. CE participants can avail of Training and Support Grants, which provides for quick access to short-term training or related interventions (for example, to obtain/renew certification/permits) for those who have identified work opportunities or where Intreo case officers have identified immediate skills gaps that could be an obstacle to taking up employment.
CE participants who have finished employment on a CE scheme will be referred to the Department's Intreo employment support service which will provide them with career advice, assistance with CV and interview preparation and support and, advice in respect of starting a new business. The Department can provide supports to such jobseekers, such as the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, which provide a monetary incentive for people who are on social welfare payments to develop a business while allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of their qualifying social welfare payment over two years).
The Department can also provide incentives to employers, such as through the JobsPlus scheme, which provide monthly payments to qualifying employers to offset wage costs where they employ jobseekers.