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People going through FÁS training programmes are more likely to find work - but those going through the National Employment Action Plan are 17 per cent less likely to find a job. Niall Carson/PA Archive

Looking for work? Don't go through the State's back-to-work plan, report finds

People going through the National Employment Action Plan are 17 per cent less likely to find work, ESRI research reveals.

A NEW REPORT from the State’s economic thinktank has found that people going through the government’s official back-to-work programme are less likely to find jobs than those who shun it.

A report published today by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has found that people who go job-hunting through the State’s National Employment Action Plan (NEAP) are 17 per cent less likely to get work.

NEAP, the report’s authors found, had had a negative impact on a person’s ability to find job – suggesting that the interview element of the NEAP was proving an ineffective route to finding work.

The report also finds that more than half of those who were unemployed and who are deemed in need of the State’s help to find work are either not eligible to enrol in NEAP, or weren’t identified to take part in it.

NEAP has been in place since 1998, but is currently being reformed in order to provide better support to the growing numbers of long-term unemployed, who now account for over half of the country’s jobless.

By comparison, State training agency FÁS – which has earmarked for closure and replacement by the last government – was found to be relatively effective, with people taking FÁS courses becoming 10-14 per cent more likely to leave the Live Register.

“However, the cumulative effect of training plus activation interview was either zero – or at best, weakly positive – due to the negative impact associated with the NEAP referral process,” the damning report found.

The study was carried out between 2006 and 2008 – a window which included the peak of the jobs market and the rapid growth in unemployment towards the end of 2008 as the credit crunch began to bite and the banking crisis emerged.

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