Minister Burton hosts Employer Briefing and opens Intreo Centre in Waterford


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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 Waterford today (Monday, 24th March 2014) to host employer- and jobseeker-focussed events.

The Minister is hosting an Employer Briefing in The Tower Hotel in Waterford this morning and will outline, to over 120 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: "Data published by the Central Statistics Office shows that 61,000 more people were in jobs at the end of 2013, an employment increase of 3.3% on 2012. Unemployment has fallen by 41,400 over the course of the year with the overall unemployment rate falling to 11.9%.

"Our work and commitment to further reducing unemployment will continue and employers are central to this ambition. Already, 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. 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."

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.

Minister Burton continued: "I am also asking employers to follow the example of their counterparts in countries like Germany and Austria and be willing to give not alone young jobseekers but also long-term unemployed people work, training and apprenticeship opportunities."

The Minister is also opening Waterford Intreo Centre at Government Buildings on Cork Road. 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. Previously, the more than 15,670 customers of Waterford Intreo had to access services at five different locations around the city, but these will now be available under one roof in the Waterford Intreo Centre.

Speaking with staff and guests in Waterford Intreo Centre, Minister Burton explained: "Here in Waterford Intreo Centre, case officers are working closely with jobseekers to create Personal Progression Plans for them and go through the range of employment and training supports on offer. In that respect, we will spend more than €1 billion this year on work, training and education places and related supports. In return for those supports, we expect jobseekers to engage with our services – this is the social contract."

Minister Burton reminded employers that Waterford 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.

"Already Waterford Intreo Centre is working with companies such as Eishtec, Glanbia, Tesco and the Musgrave Group in helping them to identify suitable candidates for vacant posts, work experience and accredited training," said the Minister. "I am urging other employers in the Waterford area to contact Waterford Intreo Centre to find out how we can support your company's employment needs."

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

PRESS RELEASE 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 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 (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 subsidies and grants, for employing people with a disability.
Last modified:24/03/2014