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Dail votes to end referrals to JobPath scheme as opposition parties unite to defeat government

The government was defeated by 81 votes to 42.

Image: Shutterstock/Photographee.eu

A DÁIL VOTE to end the referrals of jobseekers to the JobPath scheme has passed this afternoon by 81 votes to 42. 

Opposition parties united to slam the government’s job activation programme, with a debate on the issue during the week hearing the scheme being dubbed “coercive” and “ruthless” by politicians. 

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, John Brady, who moved the motion, welcomed today’s vote stating that the onus was on the government to respect the will of the Dáil. 

“Today the majority of the Dáil voted in support of the Sinn Féin motion to immediately stop referrals to Jobpath and to invest in schemes that work. 

“It has cost the taxpayer millions and it has caused untold damage to existing community based schemes, including the Adult Guidance Service, the Local Employment Service, Community Employment and Job Clubs,” he said. 

JobPath is an employment activation service provided to people who have been on the live register for more than 12 months and are trying to secure and sustain full-time paid employment or self-employment.

Private companies 

The two private companies employed by the State, Turas Nua and Seetec, to operate the scheme have received €75.7 million and €73.3 million respectively to carry out its work.

The two contractors are paid to work with both the jobseeker and employers to identify employment opportunities.

They receive payments when someone who has taken part in the scheme gains proven employment.

Sustainment payments are also to be made to the companies over the course of a year in respect of each person who secures employment having engaged in the JobPath process.

TheJournal.ie revealed last year that the private companies contracted by the State to run the scheme are entitled to €3,718 for every jobseeker that gains sustained employment for one year through the JobPath scheme. 

Those that refuse to engage with the scheme can have their social welfare reduced or cut off. In the last number of months, criticism has been levelled at the private companies that operate the scheme, with politicians highlighting a number of issues. 

Unsuitable 

Many personal testimonies of those on the scheme have been highlighted during debates and committee hearings on the scheme – with criticisms being levelled at programme for attempting to place people in unsuitable work placements.

Defending the government’s scheme this week, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said approximately 41,000 individuals have found full-time jobs while engaged with the JobPath service – with a further 5,000 finding part-time jobs. 

However, Fianna Fáil’s Lisa Chambers accused the minister of giving one angle, highlighting that only 9% have actually held a job for longer than 12 months. 

Politicians have called for money to be invested in State schemes, that do not rely on the private sector. 
https://www.facebook.com/MattieMcGrathTD/videos/2402066426494459/

Catherine Greene of the Kildare and Wicklow Education Training Board said organisations such as the one she works for, should have been tasked with the job that JobPath have been doing for the last number of years. 

She told the committee it was “poor practice” to lift the JobPath model from the UK without making any changes or adaptations for working with the Irish public”. 

She said the Job Path model was based on the model being used by the G4S recruitment company in the UK, which was criticised by the UK Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.  

“We have no difficulty with recruitment agencies as a model of accessing employment, but to use these services people must be highly skilled, workplace ready,” she said. 

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