Minister Burton hosts Employer Briefing in Limerick and Officially Opens Intreo Centre in Newcastle West


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Encourages employers and jobseekers to avail of Department services and supports

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., visited Limerick today (Friday, 4th April 2014) where she hosted an Employer Briefing in the Clarion Hotel, Steamboat Quay and officially opened the Intreo Centre in Newcastle West.

Addressing some 200 companies and business-owners from Limerick and the Mid-West, Minister Burton outlined the range of supports available from the Department of Social Protection which can help employers to grow their business. The Employer Briefing is one of a series being held throughout the country and is supported by IBEC, Chambers Ireland, CIPD and ISME.

Minister Burton told the Briefing that every time an employer creates a job they are helping Ireland take one more step towards a sustained economic recovery. "We are making significant progress – we have exited the bailout, economic growth has resumed, and employment is increasing. This week, the latest Live Register figures showed that unemployment has fallen from a crisis peak of 15.1% to 11.8% now. This couldn’t have been done without employers, who are central to the recovery. So it’s imperative that the Government does everything in its power to support businesses, and the Department has a range of services and supports available for employers in that regard."

For the first time, employers in Limerick and Clare will now have a dedicated locally based network of case officers to assist them with their recruitment needs. The Minister urged employers to avail of the JobsPlus wage subsidy scheme. Through this scheme, regular payments are made to employers to offset wage costs where they employ people who have been on the Live Register for more than 12 months.

There are two levels of payment available:

  • a payment of €7,500 over two years to the employer for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24 months; and
  • €10,000 over two years to the employer for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 24 months.

Later, Minister Burton travelled to Newcastle West where she officially opened the Department’s new Intreo Centre. The Intreo Centre offers a significantly enhanced service, providing a one-stop shop for jobseekers living in Newcastle West and its environs where they can get their income supports and employment supports in the one place for the first time.

Speaking at the official opening, Minister Burton outlined the positive difference that Intreo is making as a key element of the Government’s Pathways to Work strategy to tackle unemployment.

"As Minister for Social Protection, I have focused on transforming the Department from a passive benefits provider to an active and engaged employment service, through the Pathways to Work strategy. Intreo is a central element of the strategy, and represents a transformative approach to helping people get back to work. Intreo centres are one-stop shops where jobseekers get their income and employment supports in the one place for the first time. There are now three Intreo Centres in the Mid-West - Limerick City, Ennis and here in Newcastle West. Through these Centres, jobseekers in the Mid-West will see the very real benefits of the Intreo approach."

In addition to managing income and employment supports, Newcastle West Intreo Centre oversees a range of other supports for jobseekers living in West Limerick and its environs, including 22 Community Employment Schemes. These schemes support in excess of 380 placements in the community.

There are 358 people and 17 supervisors currently participating on the TÚS scheme in Limerick County.

Since the commencement of the JobBridge programme, a total of 1068 customers have completed an internship in Limerick city and county. There are 352 jobseekers in Limerick currently participating in the JobBridge scheme.

It is intended that the full Intreo service will be delivered to all of the Department’s 63 offices nationwide by the end of 2014.

ENDS

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 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 process significantly reduces the time taken to decide a claim (down to one day in most cases) 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 subsides and grants, for employing people with a disability.

ENDS

Last modified:04/04/2014