Minister of State Kevin Humphreys to officially open new Intreo Centre in Ballina


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The latest Department of Social Protection INTREO Centre will be officially opened today (Monday, 2nd March, 2015) by Kevin Humphreys, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection with special responsibility for Employment, Community and Social Support. 

The new INTREO Centre located at Government Buildings, Ballina, will provide a one-stop-shop for jobseekers where they can get employment and financial supports in the one place for the first time.  The support now being provided through INTREO will be customised to each customer’s individual skills, experience and qualifications.  A tailored progression plan is planned and agreed between the jobseeker and their Case Officer. This plan helps the jobseeker in deciding the training and development programmes they should pursue to maximise their access to job opportunities.  There are some 1,203 people in Ballina currently availing of these supports that include the Back to Education Allowance, Enterprise Allowance, TÚS, Rural Social Scheme, JobBridge and Community Employment schemes.

Speaking in Ballina Intreo Centre this morning, Minister Humphreys said: “Intreo Centres provide a wide range of services for employers, assisting them find recruits, and advising them of innovative employer-friendly schemes, such as JobsPlus. Under this scheme, the Department pays approximately €1 in every €4 of the typical cost of hiring a person who has been on the Live Register for over a year. Since it was launched in July 2013, over 3,010 employers have availed of JobsPlus giving employment to over 4,407 jobseekers nationally, some of whom were unemployed for at least two years or more. In Mayo, 84 employers have availed of JobsPlus giving employment to over 113 jobseekers.

“I would urge all employers in this region to contact the Department, and discuss what we can do for you as an employer, in helping you find the right person for the vacancy in your business.”

The Minister also spoke of the Skills for Work Week, after the great success in 2014, the companies, the Department of Social Protection and ECR Ireland, organised the initiative again this year (2nd to 6th March). A series of events will take place during the week, to give free pre-employment training to young unemployed people in Ireland: “The Skills for Work Week is a great example of employers stepping up to do their part in getting this country back to work. There are a number of events this week nationally to help young people gain new skills for employment. Supervalu Claremorris are running an event tomorrow, and I would like to acknowledge the time and effort they have committed to making this week a success.” 

“I would encourage other businesses and employers to identify one action they can take to become involved in making Skills for Work Week a success in their area.”

While in Mayo, Minister Humphreys will also meet with representatives of Community Employment schemes including Mayo Abbey Community Council CE, Claremorris and the Claremorris Family Resource Centre. Currently there are 36 Community Employment Programmes underway in County Mayo, 724 participants and 49 supervisors. 

These programmes, sponsored mainly by local voluntary and community organisations based in County Mayo and some public bodies involved in not for profit activity, provide valuable services to local communities whilst also providing work experience as well as training and educational opportunities for jobseekers.

Project activity includes environmental (enhancing the towns, villages and leisure amenities to a very high standard) and health and social care (provision of support services to vulnerable groups such as the elderly and childcare). Participants are also involved in Tourism and Cultural projects such as Jackie Clarke Collection.

The Job Initiative is managed by Mayo North East Leader. There are 16 participants and one supervisor, providing services to a variety of community organisations based in various location in North and East Mayo.

The Minister congratulated all involved in both delivering and participating in the Community Employment and other projects which he said enhance the local communities while equipping the participants with new skills and preparing them to become job-ready.

Minister Humphreys thanked the local staff of the Department for their co-operation and dedication, “Thanks to Eoin Brown, his management team and staff for their continued support.  I wish all of you continued success as you continue to deliver an excellent service on behalf of the Department.”

 

Note for Editors

The Intreo process consists of five main elements:

An integrated 'one-stop-shop' reception service: This replaces the three previously separate services from FÁS, the Department of Social Protection and the Community Welfare Service (HSE). In practice, this means that the client receives complete information on a more timely basis in one location, and that all follow-on appointments can be scheduled at the same time.

A single decisions process: Previously, clients submitting claims for social welfare payments might have had to wait some time for their claim to be awarded as details of their employment status and income were assessed. While awaiting this payment, clients were entitled, by submitting a separate claim to the Community Welfare Service, to an emergency Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment. The new Intreo process significantly reduces the time taken to decide a claim and those clients who might still require a supplementary payment can have this decision made as part of the single process rather than having to submit a separate claim. As part of the decisions process, a personal profile (known as PEX) is captured for each individual and this profile informs the approach taken at the next stage in the process – activation.

An integrated activation/employment service process: Previously clients had to wait at least three months before an appointment could be made with an employment services officer, and in some cases this appointment had to be triggered by the client themselves.
Now, under the new process, all clients must attend a group engagement session – typically within a week or two of registering for jobseekers' payments. Depending on their personal profile, they are subsequently scheduled for follow-on one-to-one meetings with an experienced employment services officer.

The group engagement session is designed to give clients basic information on their entitlements and the services that are available to them in order to help them return to work. Each client is given a fact sheet in preparation for and in advance of the one-to-one meeting.  At the one-to-one meeting, the employment services officer/case worker will go into greater detail as to the employment and training supports available and help the client to prepare a Personal Progression Plan (PPP).

Follow-up meetings are then scheduled to monitor progress against the plan and to adjust it, as circumstances dictate. Clients may also be contacted in the periods between one-to-one meetings to check if the client is following the actions agreed under the PPP.
Ultimately clients who, despite the assistance of their case officer cannot make progress on the pathway into employment/further education, may be directed to, and required to, take up a place on a State employment or training scheme.

Social Contract – Rights and Responsibilities: This contract underpins the Intreo approach.
It is a record of the commitments being made by the Intreo service and also of the commitments expected of clients who avail of that service. In other words, a social contract to ensure that all parties understand that with rights to supports from the Department come responsibilities to engage with those services. The commitments expected of clients are that they will:

  • Co-operate with the Intreo service in developing a Personal Progression Plan.
  • Use this plan to strive to secure employment.
  • Attend all meetings requested by the Department.
  • Provide all information requested by the Department.
  • Clients who register for the service will be expected to sign and honour this Record of Mutual Commitments.
  • Failure to honour this commitment can lead to a reduction in, and ultimately a cessation of, payments.

 

Employer Engagement: The Department already offers a suite of services that can assist employers in recruiting staff from the Live Register.  These include:

Job advertising and job-matching services (jobsireland.ie)
An internship scheme - JobBridge (jobbridge.ie)
Financial supports for recruiting long-term unemployed people – JobsPlus (jobsplus.ie)
In-work supports to employees – Part-time Job Incentive scheme and Family Income Supplement
WorkAbility services, including wage subsidies and grants, for employing people with a disability.

Skills for Work Week - Feeding Ireland’s Future programme
The Skills for Work Week is running from the 2nd to the 6th of March with a number of events organized by employers and business nationally with the support of the Department of Social Protection. 
For more information: http://www.merrionstreet.ie/en/allaboutjobs/Features-Articles/Feeding_Ireland%E2%80%99s_Future_programme_launched.html

 

ENDS
Department of Social Protection

Last modified:02/03/2015