Written answers

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Departmental Contracts

Paul McAuliffe (Dublin North West, Fianna Fail)
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186. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will consider supporting a project (details supplied). [10832/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The company referred to is currently providing services to the Department under Local Employment Services (LES) and Jobs Club contracts. These services are engaged to supplement the provision of employment services to those most distant from the labour market.

This year, the company in question is one of 22 different contractors providing Local Employment Services (LES) in a network of offices and outreach clinics in designated areas to provide career/vocational guidance and support to job seeking clients. The value of this contract this year is almost €967,000 to that LES. In addition, the company is also one of 37 contractors who provides Job Club services to clients in its local catchment to assist job-ready jobseekers to obtain employment in the open labour market, to facilitate the exploration and follow-up of employment opportunities as well as meeting the labour market requirements of employers. The company provides this service locally to nearly 700 clients at a value of over €100,000 this year.

The new proposal is seeking significant additional funds towards the development of simulated IT work experience for unemployed young people. While 60% of the costs are being met by a private company as part of their commitment to corporate social responsibility, significant additional funding is being requested from this Department for a programme which will last 30 months. While the Department is appreciative of the innovation involved, there is no scope to fund this programme at this stage at the level requested.

The Government is investing significantly in a range of new measures under the July Jobs Stimulus. This encompasses a commitment of €200m investment in training, education, skill development, work placement schemes, recruitment subsidies and jobs search and assistance measures aimed to help those who have lost their jobs find a new one, retrain or develop new skills, in particular for emerging growth sectors.

Included in this is provision of €135.7m for a funded work placement scheme to provide work experience for jobseekers who have been unemployed for more than six months, regardless of age. A particular objective is to provide a mechanism for those with recent work experience or with sector specific skills to pivot into new employment/jobs through additional learning with new and relevant work experience.

The Department would be willing to consider whether there are options for the retention of jobseekers payments for the 20 weeks of the programme under the Education, Training and Development Option for short duration training. However, more information on the proposal will be required and even if approved, it will not cover all the costs being sought from this Department.

I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

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