The latest JobPath figures show over €182 million has been spent on the programme in the last four years. Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Only 6% of people have held down a job for over a year on JobPath

Over 226,851 people have engaged with the government’s JobPath service in the last four years.

OF THE 226,851 people referred to the government’s JobPath service, only 14,617 (6.44%) held down a job for over a year. 

The latest figures released show that in the four years that the scheme has been operational, the government has spent over €182 million on it.

Of the 226,851, only 74,000 are now engaged with the scheme, according to the JobPath figures. 

They also show that under the government initiative, 51,548 people commenced work, but over 101,303 people who were referred to JobPath in the last four years got nothing from the scheme.

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.

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.

Period of employment

JobPath figures for the last four years show that of the 51,548 people who commenced work under the programme, the majority only stayed in a job for a period of 13 weeks (31,186).

A total of 24,234 people sustained work for 26 weeks, while 18,808 sustained work for 39 weeks.

Just 14,617 people sustained work for 52 weeks.

Since the rollout of the scheme, questions have been raised about the payments the private companies get in relation to the number of jobseekers on the books. 

The latest figures show that 27,830 people were referred to JobPath more than once, with 27,476 referred twice. A total of 354 people were referred on the programme three times

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

“Earlier this year, Sinn Féin brought forward a Dáil motion which called for an end to JobPath referrals and an end to the mandatory nature of the scheme. This motion was passed by the Dáil, yet Minister Doherty chose to ignore the will of the Dáil and has to date, taken no action.

“I am calling on Minister Doherty to open her eyes. JobPath has failed. It has to go,” Sinn Féin’s John Brady told

Despite the Dáil voting for referrals to JobPath to end, the government scheme is still up and running.

Contract with private companies

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said in a recent parliamentary question that the contract held by the two private companies commenced in 2015 and, under the terms of the contracts signed with the providers, will run for at least six years.

“This includes a period of at least four years of client referrals to the end of 2019, and a run-off period of at least two years,” she said.

Doherty added that the contract includes an option which could extend the term of referrals for two periods of up to 12 months each the end of 2019.

The minister said: 

The process of procuring contracted public employment services for 2020 and beyond is in its early stages of development. My officials are working to design a procurement model that will balance the need for value for money for taxpayers with the importance of preserving high-quality employment advisory services.

She added that as part of this process the ongoing requirements of the public employment service including the period for client referrals under JobPath are currently being considered.

“To date no decisions have been taken in this regard. However, my Department is currently considering how best to continue to provide a high-quality public employment service that meets the needs of all jobseekers, while looking to provide employment services to those most distant from the labour market and to people who have not previously availed of these services,” she said.

The Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee heard yesterday that the department had defended the success of the scheme stating that 20% of the people that go through the programme get employment.

Correspondence to members of the committee also stated that the department plans to carry out another report on the scheme to highlight the savings that it has yielded in terms of having people working for a period of time, rather than being on social welfare. 

Independent TD Catherine Connolly said she disagreed with the department’s defence of the programme, stating that having a State agency, rather than private companies, involved in employment would be a more “wholesome approach”.

She also said reports on the scheme “assess a spectrum of criteria to fit the result that is wanted”. She added that JobPath is “not giving value for money”. 

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