An Tánaiste, Joan Burton TD, together with the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, and Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, today (24th September 2014) launched the 2014 MOMENTUM programme. MOMENTUM is an innovative Government initiative which provides free education and training projects for up to 6,500 long-term jobseekers.
It aims to assist unemployed jobseekers to gain in-demand skills and to access work in sectors of the economy where there are job opportunities. The programmes will include on-the job training in the form of work experience modules as well as the provision of accredited further education and training required to obtain and retain employment. One third of all places have been ring-fenced for the under 25’s. This forms part of the Government’s Pathways to Work and the Action Plan for Jobs strategies.
Twenty Five (25) education and training providers from both the private, public and not-for-profit sectors will be offering fifty five (55) individual MOMENTUM projects in over two hundred and fifty (250) individual courses across the country. These projects will be in the expanding employment areas such as ICT, tourism and hospitality, transport, distribution and logistics. Recruitment for courses commenced recently and almost 1,000 jobseekers are already wait listed for courses.
Courses are free, full time and are aligned to levels 4 to 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) or to an industry recognised certification within the sector. The projects range in duration from 23 weeks – 45 weeks. Eligible candidates can apply for courses via their local Department of Social Protection’s Intreo/Employment Services Offices.
This €20 million programme is funded through the National Training Fund. This is the second funding round for MOMENTUM which is an outcomes-based model of education and training that draws on national and international experience to optimise the programme in an Irish context. The courses are tailored to the needs of the long-term job-seeker and also employers who require relevant skills to build their business.
MOMENTUM forms part of the recently launched ‘Skills to Work’ campaign which provides a new online guide that provides information on training and work experience initiatives to jobseekers and the supports for businesses to access skills training and incentives available to hire a new employee who is currently on the Live Register. The online tool focuses on Skillnets, Springboard, MOMENTUM, JobBridge, and JobsPlus.
Speaking at the SOLAS offices where the launch took place, An Tánaiste said: “The Government has made significant progress on the employment front, with an additional 75,000 people back at work since 2012 and the unemployment rate down from a crisis peak of 15.1% to 11.2% now. But that’s still too high, which is why initiatives such as MOMENTUM are so crucial to help jobseekers get the skills they need to return to work”.
Announcing the 6,500 places today, Minister O’Sullivan said “This fantastic programme provides first-class training and education linked to quality work experience. Learners secure recognised qualifications, on-the-job know-how and, most importantly, a real competitive edge in sectors which are expanding. MOMENTUM has made a real difference in the lives of thousands of participants to date and this round builds on that experience and success.”
Noting the structural changes underway in the Further Education and Training sector, Minister English said: “These changes are necessary to ensure the provision of 21st century high-quality education and training programmes to jobseekers and other learners, which meet the needs of employers now and in the future”.
“Unemployed people need and deserve first class programmes like MOMENTUM that will equip them with the skills and experience to avail of current and future job opportunities.”
Chairman of SOLAS Pat Delaney said “MOMENTUM is one example of how SOLAS intends to address the twin goals of meeting the skills needs of the economy while supporting unemployed people and others to take advantage of the opportunities that will undoubtedly arise”.
MOMENTUM is administered by SOLAS and funded through the National Training Fund. The payment system to providers is outcomes based with part payment reserved for key stages of the programme, including delivery and work placement, employment outcomes and progression at the end of the programme.
Further information on MOMENTUM, its projects and providers and eligibility criteria can be found on the website: www.momentumskills.ie or from any Intreo/Employment Services Office.
Notes to Editors
MOMENTUM builds on the experience of the first Labour Market Activation Programme with an emphasis on strong labour market opportunities including significant work placement as an integrated part of courses.
Funding is only available for MOMENTUM projects in areas of skills needs, identified by SOLAS’ Skills and Labour Market Research Unit and its National Skills Database (NSD), as well as research by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), the National Skills Strategy and other relevant sources which provide for accredited in-demand NFQ or industry qualification.
To be eligible for a place on a MOMENTUM project, a person must be unemployed for at least 12 months or longer and be in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance/Benefit or be signing on for Social Insurance Contribution Credits for 12 months or longer, and actively seeking employment.
About Skills to Work Skills to Work brings together the key Government initiatives introduced since 2011 to support jobseekers access the training and work experience they need and to encourage businesses to employ people currently on the Live Register.
Those Government initiatives are JobsPlus, JobBridge, Skillnets, Springboard and Momentum.
One of the core aims of the Skills To Work campaign is to provide information in the format that people need, so that we can contribute to driving growth in jobs and in the Irish economy.
The campaign was launched four months ago and already over 14,000 users are engaging with the campaign with a 20% return rate to the site. For more information see www.skillstowork.ie