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Employment scheme aims to 'keep people close to labour market', says minister

Joan Burton says unemployed professionals will be expected to take up reasonable job offers.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

THE MINISTER FOR Social Protection has said that under the Pathways to Work scheme, qualified and trained professionals such as nurses will be expected to take up “reasonable job offers” even if it is not “their job of preference”.

The opposition has dubbed the scheme as ‘pathways to poverty’, saying its measures for getting people back into the workforce are inadequate.

Joan Burton said the main point of the Pathways to Work scheme is to “keep a person close to the labour market”, but said efforts would be made to match people to work according to their capabilities and skills.

Responding to a query from Joe Higgins TD, Burton said that the programme aims to “find jobs for unemployed workers in areas where they can contribute most added value commensurate with their skills.”

“It is highly likely that qualified and trained professionals, such as nurses, will get work in line with their skills and training,” she continued. “Under the rights and responsibilities approach of Pathways whereby a person has an entitlement to a Social Welfare payment and a responsibility to engage with the department, we will expect people to take up reasonable job offers.”

The minister also said that the JobBridge internship scheme is open to “all individuals irrespective of their skill levels”.

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That scheme currently offers internships across the areas of IT, logistics, health, education, arts and literature, according to the minister.

Read: Government unemployment scheme is ‘Pathways to Poverty’ says opposition >

TheJournal.ie’s progress report for the Government: Social welfare >

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