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Minister Burton launches Pathways to Work

Getting 75,000 people who are currently long-term unemployed back into the workforce by 2015

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton today announced Pathways to Work, a radical new plan to get unemployed people back to work.

 Speaking at the Digital Skills Academy Minister Burton said:

“We will engage with every unemployed person to make sure that their first day out of work is also their first step on the pathway back to work. No-one who loses his/her job will be allowed to drift, without support, into long-term unemployment.”

 “We will not repeat the mistakes of the 1980s and 1990s when unemployment remained high even after economic recovery took hold. This time, our people will be job-ready when the recovery comes,”

Speaking at the launch, the Taoiseach said:

 “Pathways to Work is all about people and making sure that, when economic recovery comes, those who lost their jobs in the recession are not left behind.  We are completely overhauling the way the State supports jobseekers by introducing best international practice.” 

The Tánaiste said:

 “ It is absolutely vital that we re-invent the way in which public bodies interact with people who are unemployed. I have long argued that the day a person loses their job should also be the first day of their journey back to employment. The reform programme that we are launching today represents one of the biggest reforms in the history of our social welfare system.”

 Minister for Training and Skills, Ciaran Cannon added:

“The Department of Education and Skills and the wider education sector are committed to helping people upskill.  We are implementing a major reform programme – the establishment of SOLAS - in the further education and training sector to ensure that we can provide 21st century skills for 21st century jobs.” 

 Pathways to Work is primarily focused on those who have been out of work for a year or more. The aim is to get 75,000 people who are currently long-term unemployed back into the workforce  and to reduce the average time spent on the live register from 21 months today to less than 12 months by the end of 2015.

A key element of the Pathways to Work approach is the transformation of social welfare offices into new one-stop-shops in the first half of the year where clients can access their entitlements and get help with planning their return to work. Four will open in King’s Inn, Parnell Street, Dublin;  Tallaght, Dublin; Arklow, Co. Wicklow and Sligo by May with a further ten coming on stream by the end of the year.  

The Department of Social Protection will spend €977 million on employment supports including Community Employment schemes in 2012, up from €882 million in 2011.  This increased spending of €95 million, against a backdrop of significant fiscal consolidation, underlines the Government’s commitment to enhancing support for employment.

Overall, the Department will offer 85,650 job placement or work experience initiatives in 2012 including JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, Tús, the Rural Social Scheme and the Jobs Initiative.


Read Minister Bruton’s press release in full here

Read the Taosieach’s speech in full here