Minister Burton hosts Employer Briefing in Cork and opens Cobh Intreo Centre

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Minister Burton hosts Employer Briefing in Cork and
opens Cobh Intreo Centre

The Department of Social Protection’s Intreo Service – a one stop shop for unemployed people seeking work and employers seeking workers

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D. is in Cork today (Monday, 7th April 2014) to host employer- and jobseeker-focussed events.

The Minister is hosting an Employer Briefing in The Radisson Blu Hotel in Cork this morning and will outline, to over 200 employers, the range of schemes and initiatives available from the Department of Social Protection that can support a company’s employment needs. The Employer Briefing is one of a series being held throughout the country and is being supported by IBEC, ISME, Chambers Ireland, CIPD, Enterprise Ireland, IDA, City and County Enterprise Boards, and the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation.

Speaking with employers at the briefing, Minister Burton said: “Figures published by the Central Statistics Office last week show that unemployment is at its lowest level since April 2009; it has fallen to 11.8% from a peak of 15.1%. There is still a long way to go and much work to do; employers are central to this work. Every time an employer creates a job, they help us to take one more step towards a sustained economic recovery.

“My Department has a range of employer supports and services to help businesses expand and find the right recruits. One example of our services, which will be of interest to employers, is the JobsPlus wage subsidy scheme. The true value of JobsPlus is its simplicity - cash grants paid monthly in arrears.”

JobsPlus offers a grant of €7,500 paid over two years to an employer who hires a jobseeker who has been unemployed for 12 months or more. The grant increases to €10,000 if the jobseeker has been more than two years’ unemployed. Since JobsPlus was launched in July 2013, it has helped to support more than 1,580 full-time jobs.

The Minister also encouraged employers to visit the website. The site lists thousands of available jobs at any one time, allows employers to advertise posts and provides job-ready candidates to help employers fill vacancies. These services are provided at no cost.

Minister Burton is also opening Cobh Intreo Centre at Lynch's Quay, Cobh, Co. Cork later today. Intreo Centres provide a one-stop shop for jobseekers where they can get their income supports and employment supports in the one place for the first time. Minister Burton said: 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, with income and employment supports available in the one place. Previously, clients in Cobh had to access services at three different locations in the town, but these are now available under one roof in Cobh Intreo Centre.”

There is a wide range of services and supports available at Cobh Intreo Centre. For example,

  • over 1,530 clients are receiving a weekly income support payment in Cobh Intreo Centre,
  • 50 jobseekers each month in Cobh will participate in Group Engagement sessions, which are designed to give clients basic information on their entitlements and the services that are available to help them return to work,
  • there are one to one interviews and follow up meetings with 35 jobseekers in Cobh each week,
  • some 90 jobseekers in Cobh are availing of the Back to Education Allowance,
  • 22 jobseekers are participating in a JobBridge internship, and
  • between 60 -100 applications for a Public Services Card each week in Cobh Intreo Centre.

Minister Burton reminded employers that Cobh Intreo Centre also provides services for employers, helping them find recruits for vacancies and providing information on the JobsPlus wage subsidy scheme and JobBridge, the National Internship scheme.

The Minister concluded by expressing her thanks to the OPW for their work in developing the physical infrastructure in Cobh Intreo Centre and to the staff in the Centre for the excellent service they have been providing over many years.


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 (
  • An internship scheme - JobBridge (
  • Financial supports for recruiting long-term unemployed people – JobsPlus (
  • 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.


Last modified:07/04/2014