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'Ridiculous situation': Jobseekers forced to do JobPath programme for a third time

Private companies operating JobPath get over €3k for every jobseeker that makes it through the scheme.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

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

JobPath is an employment activation service for 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 latest department figures show that 25 people have been referred to the scheme for a third time. The updated numbers show that 21,846 have been referred to JobPath for a second time. 

The total number of people who have been referred to JobPath is 209,538. 

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 jobseekers and employers to identify employment opportunities. They receive payments when someone who has taken part in the scheme gains proven employment.

It was revealed last month that only 11,334 out of 206,000 who have taken part in JobPath sustained employment for over 12 months.

However, despite the figures, Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty states the scheme is working. TDs have raised numerous reports about people being unhappy with their treatment on the programme. 

‘Ridiculous’

Sinn Féin’s John Brady said JobPath does not enjoy the support of the majority in the Dáil, with the majority of TDs voting for referrals to the programme to end. 

“It has wasted millions in taxpayers’ money and we now have the ridiculous situation where people are being referred to JobPath for a third time.

“This means a third initial referral fee of €311 paid in respect of the same person three times. That is a total of €933 in referral fees for the same person. This is a disgraceful waste of taxpayers’ money and it must end,” he said. 

He added:

The idea that people are going back to start the JobPath programme all over again for a third time and a third year really is beyond a joke.
The JobPath providers are the only beneficiaries  in this programme and they must be laughing all the way to the bank on the back of the Irish taxpayer.

Sustainment payments are 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. 

People who 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 operating the scheme. 

Selection process for repeats

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said her department selects clients for the JobPath service by means of a random selection process.

She said protocols for selection currently preclude the selection of anyone who has already completed 52 weeks with the JobPath service within the previous four months.

“If, however, at the end of this period the jobseeker has not engaged in other activation supports and services they then become eligible for selection for a subsequent period of activation on the JobPath programme,” she said. 

She said jobseekers referred for a subsequent referral will start working with a personal advisor, who will review their development during their previous engagements with the service.

“Together they will prepare a new personal progression plan to build on that progress. The actions and tasks agreed will be based on their previous engagements, with particular focus on the identified barriers, which are preventing the person moving into full-time suitable employment,” added the minister. 

TheJournal.ie previously reported that of the 200,000 people who have been through JobPath, only 11,000 have held down jobs for over a year. 

The latest figures show that number has risen to 12,137 jobs being held down for 52 weeks.

Of the 77,252 currently engaged in the scheme, 47,482 have commenced employment. However, a further breakdown of those numbers show that only 28,582 jobs were sustained for 13 weeks, while 21,363 jobs have been sustained for 26 weeks to date. 

A total of 16,152 jobs were sustained for 39 weeks to date. 

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