THE GOVERNMENT HAS unveiled its major plan to get unemployed people back to work.
The Pathways to Work initiative will introduce a code of rights and responsibilities where jobseekers must actively seek employment or engage with training services in return for welfare support.
“When new job opportunities come we want unemployed people to be at the front of the queue,” said Minister Joan Burton launching the plan this afternoon.
The plan aims to get 75,000 people who are currently considered to be long-term unemployed back into the workforce. It also aims to reduce the average time spent on the live register from 21 months today to less than 12 months by the end of 2015.
Social welfare offices will become one-stop-shops where jobseekers can access their entitlements and get support with planning their return from work. Four such offices will open by May with ten more due to open by tnd of the year.
Jobseekers will be required to complete a profile questionnaire when they register with the new welfare offices so that case workers can access how likely it is that they will get a job within the next year.
Claimants will also have to sign a rights and responsibilities contract and commit to a progression plan with the Department of Social Protection.
“We will not repeat the mistakes of the 1980s and 1990s when unemployment remained high even after economic recovery took hold,” said Joan Burton. “This time, our people will be job-ready when the recovery comes”.
The Minister said that the programme will engage with every unemployed person to ensure that their first day out of work is also their first step on the pathway back to work.
“No-one who loses his or her job will be allowed to drift, without support, into long-term unemployment,” said Burton.