Taoiseach and Tánaiste launch Pathways to Work 2015

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Taoiseach and Tánaiste launch Pathways to Work 2015 to drive progress in helping jobseekers return to work

Strategy will ensure Intreo centres are publicly benchmarked to ensure delivery of employment targets

7th October 2014 - The performance of Intreo employment centres will be publicly benchmarked for the first time to ensure they are meeting targets to help jobseekers return to work, the Government has announced.

The reform is one of a series of key actions contained in the Pathways to Work 2015 strategy to reduce unemployment, published today by Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., Tánaiste Joan Burton T.D. and Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, Kevin Humphreys T.D.

The Pathways to Work strategy, first introduced in 2012 and led by the Department of Social Protection, seeks to ensure that as many newly created jobs as possible go to people on the Live Register. It complements the Action Plan for Jobs, led by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, which is designed to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, jobs-rich economy.

Under Pathways to Work 2015, State employment and training services overseen by the Departments of Social Protection and Education and Skills will be benchmarked at local, regional and national level, with the results published, to ensure performance against targets. Intreo centres, the new-style social welfare offices which provide employment and income supports to jobseekers in the one place for the first time, will be assessed as part of this process, with performance statistics published for each centre.

Other key actions in Pathways to Work 2015 include:

  • The Employment and Youth Activation Charter: Employers who sign this Charter commit that at least 50% of candidates considered for interview will be taken from the Live Register.
  • A new account management approach to employers within the Department of Social Protection. This will mean employers who interact with the Department to find recruits for their businesses will have a dedicated accounts manager to assist them.
  • JobPath, through which third-party providers with proven track records will be hired to provide additional employment services focused on the long-term unemployed.
  • Continued rollout of Youth Guarantee initiatives to support young jobseekers.
  • The introduction of a Working Family Dividend which will allow jobseekers returning to work to retain, for a set period, welfare payments known as Qualified Child Increases for their children. This will remove a potential welfare trap and ensure that work pays.

The Taoiseach said: "We have made it our mission to bring about a jobs recovery. This has meant the complete overhaul of our employment services and the roll out of new supports nationwide. Through the Pathways to Work strategy and the Action Plan for Jobs we have seen a lot of positive progress on the jobs front. We still have enormous challenges ahead and the plan for 2015 specifically addresses long-term and youth unemployment. Further progress will be achieved by continuing to make changes to our tax and welfare system to ensure that work always pays and by improving employment and work activation supports."

The Tánaiste said: "Pathways is working – more than 50,000 people who were long-term unemployed at the start of 2012 have found work since the strategy was launched, and we are well on the way to exceeding the 75,000 target we originally set. Unemployment has fallen from a crisis peak of over 15% to 11.1% now. But that's still too high, which is why Pathways 2015 places a particular focus on employer engagement over the next year to ensure that employers look to the Live Register when hiring. The Employer Charter will be an important step in this process, as will JobPath. And with each Intreo centre individually benchmarked, pressure will be maintained to ensure we meet and exceed our targets."

Minister of State Humphreys said: "It is very clear that our journey to recovery is a marathon not a sprint and we still have some distance to travel. The initiatives contained in Pathways to Work 2015 are specifically designed to address the twin issue of long-term and youth unemployment. I look forward, in conjunction with the Tánaiste and my colleagues in Government, to ensuring that the Pathways programme is implemented in full so that the ‘recovery dividend' is shared by all and not just a few."

Minister of State for Skills, Research & Innovation, Damien English said: "A key pillar of our Pathways to Work strategy is to ensure that jobseekers, and especially the long-term unemployed, have access to relevant training so they have the best chance of finding new jobs. The 2015 Pathways Plan provides for more training and further education places reserved for long-term and young unemployed people. The expansion of job placement schemes will also allow long-term unemployed people to practise their skills in a work setting and will help them to transition back into the workforce."


Note to Editors:

As with previous years, the Pathways 2015 strategy will be delivered under five strands:

Strand 1: Incentivising employers to provide more jobs for those who are unemployed
Strand 2: Better engagement with unemployed people
Strand 3: Greater targeting of activation places and opportunities for those who are long-term unemployed
Strand 4: Incentivising the take-up of employment opportunities by unemployed jobseekers
Strand 5: Completing the Reform Agenda.

Since its launch in 2012, the Pathways strategy has seen the:

  • Rollout of 44 Intreo ["one stop shop"] centres, with the rollout to be completed with the opening of a further 16 centres by the end of the year.
  • Transformation of jobseeker services provided by the Department of Social Protection through the development and rollout of Intreo involving:
    • The introduction of a group engagement process whereby all new jobseekers are briefed on the services available to them
    • The profiling of every client on the Live Register to help prioritise and direct interventions
    • The introduction of a case-management approach whereby jobseekers receive scheduled one-to-one interviews with case officers based on their profile
    • The redesign of payment claim processes to significantly reduce the processing time of jobseeker payment claims
    • The introduction of ‘fast-track' claim processing to allow unemployed jobseekers take up short-term/seasonal work opportunities.
  • Development and rollout of JobBridge
  • Development and rollout of JobsPlus
  • Transformational reorganisation of the Further Education and Training sector with the creation of the new ETBs and SOLAS
  • Development and publication of a five-year Further Education and Training Strategy by SOLAS
  • An increase in the number of places on Tús, Community Employment and training & education programmes by c 30%
  • Development and launch of Momentum and Springboard providing skills training and education in targeted sectors to almost 23,000 jobseekers
  • Creation of an Employer Services Division in DSP to start the process of building effective relationships with employers
  • Formation of a Labour Market Council of industry leaders and labour market specialists to monitor and advise on the implementation of the Pathways to Work Strategy
  • Development of protocols between the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the new Local Enterprise Offices (LEO's) to maximise the recruitment of appropriately skilled persons from the Live Register by enterprise agency client companies.
Last modified:07/10/2014