Ministers Quinn and Burton unveil online tool to help jobseekers and employers

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"Skills to Work" will assist jobseekers and employers to avail of Government initiatives aimed at getting people back to work

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., and the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., today unveiled the Government’s new awareness raising programme for skills initiatives aimed at getting people back to work.

"Skills to Work" brings together key Government initiatives introduced since 2011 to support jobseekers access the training and work experience they need and to help and encourage businesses employ people currently on the Live Register. The main aim of "Skills to Work" is to make it easier for both jobseekers and employers to easily access information on the full range of options available to them.

An online tool has been developed,, which, through a series of simple questions:

  • Directs jobseekers to information on what education, re-skilling or work experience options are available to them in areas of new and emerging employment opportunities.
  • Directs employers to information on incentives available to hire a new employee who is currently on the Live Register, offer a work placement or access skills training.
  • Provides information on additional opportunities and government supports available to help people get back to work and to help businesses grow.

The Skills to Work campaign promotes in particular five initiatives run by the Department of Education and Skills and Department of Social Protection: Springboard, Momentum, Skillnets, JobBridge and JobsPlus.

Some 77,200jobseekers 1 have gained valuable training, skills or work experience on these five initiatives since 2011. In the same period, 30,314 employers have accessed training via Skillnets and 1,611 businesses have hired a total of 2,115 previously long-term unemployed jobseekers through the JobsPlus wage subsidy scheme.

1 This figure is made up of 18,000 Springboard participants, 6,500 on Momentum, approximately 8,000 unemployed people who underwent training annually with Skillnets since 2011 (24,000) as well as 28,700 on JobBridge

Speaking at the launch in the National College of Ireland today, Minister Quinn said, "While unemployment levels are continuing to fall and 61,000 people have returned to work over the past year, the biggest challenge still facing our country is unemployment. Getting people back to work and ensuring they earn a living wage is our priority."

"This Government has introduced a range of initiatives to do just that – now with "Skills to Work" we are making it easier for jobseekers and employers to quickly find out what initiatives they qualify for, more information on those programmes and how to apply."

Minister Burton added, "We have transformed our employment services to help jobseekers return to work, training and education and to help employers grow their business. Skills to Work is an excellent demonstration of the array of schemes and supports now available to both jobseekers and employers alike. Through the Pathways to Work strategy introduced by the Government, unemployment has fallen from a crisis peak of 15.1% to 11.7% now. But we must build on that progress and Skills to Work will play an important role in that regard. I would encourage jobseekers and employers to visit the website and see how Skills to Work can benefit them."

Alongside the new on-line tool, the “Skills to Work” team will meet directly with jobseekers and employers, largely through attending job fairs and roadshows around the country. There will also be an on-line advertising campaign to drive interested jobseekers and employers to the new website.

"Skills to Work" is part of Pathways to Work, the Government’s strategy to reduce unemployment.                                                                       #allaboutjobs

Also launching today is the Supporting SMEs Online Tool which, along with Skills To Work, is part of the Government’s priority for tackling unemployment and creating jobs. The Supporting SMEs Online Tool is a cross-governmental guide to help Irish start-ups and small businesses navigate the range of over 80 Government business supports that they could be eligible for.


For more information contact:

Deirdre Grant DES 01 889 2417 or 086 0484 279


Paul O’Brien DSP 01 704 3753 or 087 2847 468

Editors’ Notes:

The five programmes which fall under the Skills to Work programme are:


Springboard provides free, part-time and flexible higher education reskilling courses at certificate, degree and masters level. It is open to unemployed and previously employed people who are actively seeking employment.

Springboard provides education opportunities in areas where there are skills shortages, such as ICT and entrepreneurship. More than 18,000 jobseekers have taken up a Springboard place (including the ICT Skills Conversion Courses) since 2011 and a further round of places for 2014 will be offered shortly.

Further information can be found at


Co-financed by the EU, MOMENTUM funds the provision of free training projects to allow the long-term unemployed gain skills and access work opportunities in identified growth sectors. The categories where projects are funded include Construction, ICT, Transport, Distribution and Logistics, Tourism, Financial Services and Manufacturing (technology).

Over 6,500 places were made available through Momentum in 2013 and a further round of this programme will be launched this year. Further information on how to apply and the courses available can be found at


JobBridge assists individuals in breaking the cycle where they are unable to get a job without experience. JobBridge provides internship opportunities of either 6 or 9 months. The scheme is open to unemployed people at all education and skills levels who are in receipt of certain social welfare payments or are signing on for credits for at least 3 of the last 6 months (78 days). Interns receive an allowance of €50 per week on top of their existing social welfare entitlement. This is payable for the period of their internship.

Further information is available at


Skillnets supports the training needs of Irish businesses, employees and job-seekers through up to 60 training networks nationwide across a range of sectors and regions. Skillnets actively supports and works with businesses in Ireland to address their current and future skills needs. Up to 8,000 Skillnets places are offered to jobseekers annually across a diverse range of education and training programmes and work placement in areas of employment potential.

 Find a training course:


JobsPlus is an employer incentive scheme which encourages and rewards employers who offer full-time jobs to the long-term unemployed. Monthly cash payments are made to qualifying employers to offset wage costs. There are two levels of cash incentives: a payment of €10,000 over two years to an employer for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than two years, and a payment of €7,500 over two years for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 12 months but less than 24 months. See

Last modified:19/05/2014