Pathways to Work and Youth Guarantee

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Pathways to Work 

The Pathways to Work Strategy was initiated in 2012 and is designed to complement the Action Plan for Jobs as part of a twin-pronged approach to tackling the jobs crisis that emerged in the final years of the last decade. The Action Plan for Jobs is focused on stimulating employment growth; Pathways to Work on making sure that as many as possible of these new jobs, and other vacancies that arise in the economy, are filled by unemployed jobseekers. The 2012 strategy ran until the end of 2015.

The Pathways to Work (PtW) strategy 2012 - 2015 was successful in contributing to a reduction of circa 38% in the numbers of people unemployed over that period. However even at 8.9% the rate of unemployment remains too high. In particular the number of people on the Live Register for more than 12 months, at approximately 150,000, means that long-term unemployment continues to have a scarring effect on the lives of individuals and families and presents a significant challenge to our society and our economy.  

Pathways to Work 2016-2020, launched in January 2016, shifts from a focus on ‘activation during a recession’ to ‘activation in recovery’ over the course of the strategy. Accordingly a two pronged approach is proposed:

  • Consolidation: Consolidating the recent reforms to the Public Employment and Welfare Services and optimising provision to maximise outcomes for its clients.
  • Development: Gradually expanding access to activation services, as resources allow, to other non-employed people of working age.

Youth Guarantee

The Government’s primary strategy to tackle youth unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth and the availability of productive employment for young people.

The Government recognises that as the recovery takes hold, there is a need for additional measures to ensure that as many as possible of the jobs created are taken up by jobseekers and young jobseekers in particular. This is the rationale behind the Government’s Pathways to Work strategy and the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan. The main plank of the Youth Guarantee is assistance to young people in finding and securing sustainable jobs. There is monthly engagement with all young jobseekers. For those who do not find employment, additional offers are provided for. Most such offers (over 70%) are in further education or training. Others are in community-based employment programmes such as CE, Gateway and Tus, or through the JobsPlus employment subsidy for private employment.

Overall, young people took up just over 19,000 Youth Guarantee-related programme places in 2015. These data exclude an estimated 24,000 places provided for young people through PLC courses and apprenticeships. Although not reserved for unemployed jobseekers, these PLC and apprenticeship places, together with the wide range of vocational third-level courses provided for the young, nevertheless contribute to the spirit of the guarantee.

Reporting, monitoring and evaluation

Pathways to Work 2016-2020 commits to a range of improvements in reporting, monitoring and evaluation. Initiated in the 2015 strategy an on on-going rolling programme of evaluation of process/programme effectiveness will utilise counterfactual impact evaluation and mixed methods to inform future developments. This includes the initiation of regular customer satisfaction surveys. These improvements and evaluations are being conducted with the input and advice of the Labour Market Council.


Last modified:02/06/2016