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"Employers have to become part of the solution"- Joan Burton

Incentives she said will come into place from the beginning of 2014 to offer employers a rebate if they employ someone who has been unemployed for six-months or more.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Joan Burton says she would like to see traineeship systems rolled out in a number of sectors like retail and hospitality so people can “earn and train and work”.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk this morning, Burton rejected that such programmes are cheap labour for employers. She said that some of her first jobs would have been “similar to many listeners in places like Dunne Stores” where she was grateful for the experience.

“If the lack of work, and the lack of experience goes beyond six months, all of the international evidence shows that if the gap on your CV is more that six months then employers begin to blame the individual rather than the employment situation having collapsed,” she said.

The minster told Pat Kenny that she has met people on the JobBridge programme who have fantastic qualifications but who haven’t had the adequate experience. “Employers have to become part of the solution”, she said and explained that Ireland needs to embrace models from other small countries where universities, employers and individuals work together to provide employment for young people.

Incentives she said will come into place from the beginning of 2014 to offer employers a tax rebate if they employ someone who has been unemployed for six-months.

The minister said that in some countries interning is associated with young people who have wealthy families and who can afford to work for nothing, this unfair interning system is not the norm in Ireland she said.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

In yesterday’s budget it was announced that Jobseeker’s Allowance is to be decreased to €100 for people aged 24 and under who are new claimants from the start of next year. Another reduced rate of €144 will apply to jobseekers who reach 25 fro January next year. Burton said that these changes have been brought in so that welfare does not look like a long-term option for people:

“I think the worst start in life for a young person at 18, at the beginning of their adult life if you will, is to end up on their 18th birthday, going down to the dole office and signing on,” she said

“You don’t want 18 to become 21, 22, 23, 24. Some of the best years of your life will have gone past, okay you have income support but you want financial independence”.

Read: Telephone allowance, maternity benefit and medical cards hit hard in Budget >

Damien Kiberd: Budget 2014 arithmetic not just iffy – it’s scary >

Read: Core payments were protected thanks to job creation – Burton >

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Rónán Duffy

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