Minister of State Humphreys travels to Wicklow and meets with local Community Groups


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Minister of State Humphreys travels to Wicklow and meets with local Community Groups

The Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection Kevin Humphreys, T.D. today (Wednesday, 6 August 2014) visited a number of centres offering employment supports for jobseekers in County Wicklow. 

The Minister of State first met with the Department’s 26 staff working in the Intreo Centre in Arklow.  In May 2012 the Arklow Local Office was established as one of the first pilot Intreo Centres in the country.  Since then, the Department has delivered a network of Intreo Centres nationwide which provide both income and employment supports to job seekers. 

Through Intreo, social welfare customers receive a personalised service that is based on individual needs including advice on education, training and personal development opportunities, job search assistance and information on and access to the Department’s income supports available to them. The Live Register in County Wicklow shows a consistent decline in recent years falling by 8.5% since mid-2012.

While in Arklow, the Minister of State met with the local Job Club.  In operation since 2000, it services the Arklow and South Wicklow areas.  Since its establishment, over 2,500 job seekers have been assisted back to work from the Arklow and South Wicklow region.  The Job Club offers a range of services to jobseekers such as help in preparing curriculum vitae and job applications, preparing for interviews and facilitating access to phone and IT facilities to assist them in their search for employment. With a staff of one full time job club leader and two part time assistants the Job Club hopes to facilitate over 500 jobseekers in workshop and individual engagements this year.

In addition, the Job Club has strong links with local employers and offers them access to a database of and placement service for jobseekers.
Minister Humphreys praised the staff at the Job Club: “Clearly, Arklow Job Club along with the supports of the Department of Social Protection’s Intreo Centre through its activation measures are successful in helping unemployed people become job ready and find work.  Every region of the country has experienced the consequences of the economic recession and I am very pleased to see that such progress is being made in Wicklow.” 

Minister Humphreys went on to visit a Tús project ‘the Vault’ at Coomie Lane, Main Street, Arklow.  This project is based on the Youth Cafe model and was established in 2010 as a result of Government research carried out on marginalised youth in Ireland. The project is managed by East Wicklow Youth Service. 

The main objective of the organisation is to provide youth services for young people in the Arklow area with particular focus on disadvantaged young people. This is achieved by providing Breakfast Clubs, Homework Clubs and Mums and Tots summer camps. In addition young people’s skills in the area of music and sound production are developed by linking in to the various music programmes on offer through the services of the Vault. The service also covers a 20 mile radius of the Arklow area.

In the afternoon, the Minister of State visited two Community Employment schemes in Bray - the Signal Arts Centre and the Little Bray Resource Centre.  Meeting with the participants at the Signal Arts Centre, Minister Humphreys said: “The Signal Arts Centre has developed into a major community asset, making an invaluable contribution to Wicklow’s cultural, tourist, community, social and economic infrastructure. Signal has worked with and provides services for every section of the community. Congratulations to all involved for your commitment and I wish you continued success with your many projects.”  

The centre operates an outreach programme and works with community organisations in areas including education, youth, and health and community arts.  The centre runs a variety of projects to meet the specific requirements of participants in schools, nursing homes and other local facilities. 

Jobseekers who avail of the programme participate in a variety of FETAC courses which include, occupational First Aid, Intellectual Disability Studies, Train the Trainer, Event Production, and Career Planning. 

Finally, the Minister visited the Little Bray Family Resource Centre which provides access to a range of supports for disadvantaged families and Adult Education Access Programme.

The Women’s Community Links section provides a Drop in facility and offers support and information for women in the community on issues such as health, stress management, alcohol misuse, and domestic violence.  The Crèche and After School Programme provides support for parents and guardians in the community who are accessing training, education and employment opportunities.

Participants on the programme are involved in a variety of FETAC courses which include, Child Protection Training, Occupational First Aid, Ranganna Gaeilge, Caring for Children, Supervision in Childcare, Career Planning, Computers, principles of Hygiene, Safety and Security and Customer Service.
Commenting on the programme, Minister Humphreys said: “This is an excellent service and I wish to congratulate all who are involved in delivering it and all who participate in it.  The last contract cycle of this 52 week project resulted in almost half of the participants who completed the programme going directly into employment.”

ENDS

Last modified:06/08/2014