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  • Northside East

Local TDs call for end to JobPath programme

Monday, 11th February, 2019 8:00am
Local TDs call for end to JobPath programme
Local TDs call for end to JobPath programme

MINISTER for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty has rejected calls from local TDs to scrap an initiative aimed at creating jobs.

Dublin Bay North TD Denise Mitchell (SF) and Dublin Fingal TD Brendan Ryan (Lab) are among the public representatives calling for JobPath to be scrapped.

However, Minister Doherty insists that claims about the programme are “without substance”.

Deputy Mitchell said JobPath is nothing more than a moneymaking scheme for private companies which ignores those most in need of support to re-enter the workforce.

“JobPath is nothing more than an attempt to privatise and outsource our social welfare system and it has been a complete disaster,” she said. 

Deputy Mitchell said the companies get paid a registration fee for every jobseeker on their books.

“It has decimated many of our Community Employment schemes because people who would have preferred to work in a CE Scheme found themselves being threatened with having their dole cut if they did not sign-up to JobPath instead,” she argued.  

Deputy Mitchell claimed that JobPath seems to ignore lower-skilled unemployed persons. 

“We see teachers who are working part-time or as substitutes and other skilled workers being shoved into jobs that actually don't suit them whatsoever, simply so these companies can collect their job sustainment fee,” she added. 

“So we have the bizarre situation where a Government funded back-to-work scheme is actually ignoring those who are most in need of supports because there is no financial gain to be made off of them as it is more difficult to help them re-enter employment. That is totally wrong.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Ryan said pressure from the Troika to set up JobPath came in the context of very high unemployment.

“The crisis of record high unemployment has been addressed, but much work remains to be done to help move back into work and education,” he said. 

“The greatest concern for policymakers and politicians was the prospect of a generation of workers becoming long term unemployed and lost to the world of work, as happened in the 1980s.

Thankfully that has been avoided. It is our view that public and community services are much better placed now to deliver the tailored supports to workers, rather than for profit entities.”

Deputy Ryan added: “The Department should go back to fully supporting the Local Employment Service, and resourcing Community Employment schemes, along with education and training programmes to help those most distant from the workforce to reskill and equip themselves for work.”

In response to the criticism, Minister Doherty said the performance of JobPath has been above expectations; 46,000 people have gained jobs; there has been an innovative ‘payments by result’ system with the contractors carrying all upfront costs; and there has been high satisfaction and low complaints.

“Still we heard anecdote and allegation coming without substance being presented as fact by some members (of the Dail),” she said. 

“Their arguments are in fact simply that they don’t like JobPath; it is not about examining the outcomes for each one of those individuals who got a job, or about having a concern that our citizens have an expectation that they will receive assistance when unemployed and that this assistance will include financial support and support to find another job and to re-enter the workforce.” 

Minister Doherty reiterated that at cost to date of €160 million for 206,000 participants, it is less than €790 per individual for at a least a 52-week service. 

“This compares favourably with other activation services where the cost is closer to €1,000 and uniquely the JobPath contractors have to bear all the upfront costs, thereby reducing the risk to the State and ensuring that they must deliver results to recoup their costs,” she added. 

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