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Concerns that thousands spent on Jobseekers forced to do JobPath programme for a fourth time

The two private companies operating JobPath have been paid €207m.

The two private companies employed by the State, Turas Nua and Seetec, to operate the scheme have received €207 million to date to carry out its work.
The two private companies employed by the State, Turas Nua and Seetec, to operate the scheme have received €207 million to date to carry out its work.
Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

SOME JOBSEEKERS HAVE been referred to JobPath for a fourth time – having already completed the scheme. 

Despite the Secretary General of the Department of Social Protection John McKeon stating that it was not possible for someone to be referred onto the programme for a fourth time, it has emerged that between July 2015 and the end of October 2019, 14 people were sent to do the programme for a fourth time having not gained employment.  

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.

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane raised concerns this week about the statement made by the secretary general to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee. 

When asked about the multiple referrals and if people can be sent to JobPath for a fourth time, McKeon said: 

“I doubt it, I do not think so. Most people are referred once. A small number of people, around 30,000 or fewer, have been referred for a second time. A total of 1,000 people have been referred for a third time but within the year, they will not get an opportunity to go again.”

At this week’s PAC meeting, Cullinane highlighted that each client referral means the two private companies tasked to operate JobPath get paid repeated registration fees. 

€207 million paid to date 

The two private companies employed by the State, Turas Nua and Seetec, to operate the scheme have received €207 million to date to carry out its work.

The two contractors are paid to work with both the jobseekers and employers to identify employment opportunities. They receive payments when someone who has taken part in the scheme gains proven employment.

If someone completes the JobPath programme four times a referral fee of €311 is paid in respect of the same person four times. That is a total of €1,244 in referral fees for the same person.

Four registration payments for each of the 14 unique clients amounts to €17,416.

fees

The latest figures, released to Sinn Féin’s John Brady, shows that 56 registration fees were paid to the two private companies for the fourth time. 

“There is a cost involved every time somebody is referred…We are spending significant amounts of money on this and if it is the case that somebody is being placed for a third or fourth time, something is not working,” said Cullinane. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Brady said:  

Every time we get updated figures on JobPath, they get worse and worse. JobPath has failed – it has not provided jobseekers with sustainable employment and for some, they are being referred over and over again.
Of the 207,769 jobseekers who engaged with JobPath between July 2015 and 2018 just 8.6% of them found employment which lasted one year.
This Government is handing over millions of taxpayers’ money to private companies when private companies should have no role in job activation in this State.

Sustainment payments are also made to the companies over the course of a year for each person who gets employed after 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 JobPath. 

The latest JobPath figures show that the total number of people to engage with the programme between July 2015 and the end of October is 247,296. 

Keeping down a job 

However, for the same period, just 17,859 people have sustained employment after the programme for 52 weeks. 

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has repeatedly defended the scheme. She extended the programme by 12 months despite the Dáil voting to end referrals of jobseekers to the JobPath scheme earlier this year. 

Controversy has overshadowed the scheme over the years due to complaints from users of the service. 

Earlier this year an Oireachtas committee was told that “a traveller was enrolled on a course that required reasonable levels of literacy despite having low levels of literacy and also had his CV amended against his wishes to conceal his ethnicity”.  

Other examples highlighted at the committee meeting included an aspiring architect being directed to reduce her expectations and accept other work at their local employment office. A pregnant woman was also directed to accept work at a call centre in a location some distance away which had no suitable transport options.

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