Minister Burton hosts Employer Briefing, attends Blanchardstown Jobs & Advice Fair and opens Navan Road Intreo Centre
The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D. hosted and attended a number of employer- and jobseeker-focussed events in Dublin today (Friday, 28th February 2014).
The Minister hosted an Employer Briefing in Blanchardstown this morning and outlined, to over 200 employers, the range of supports available from her Department and which can help employers to grow their business. The Employer Briefing is one of a series being held throughout the country and is being supported by IBEC, Chambers Ireland, CIPD and ISME.
Speaking with employers at the briefing, Minister Burton said: “Data published yesterday by the Central Statistics Office shows that 61,000 more people were in jobs at the end of 2013, an employment increase of 3.3% on 2012. Unemployment fell by 41,400, or 14.1%, over the course of the year. Unemployment has now fallen for six successive quarters, with the overall unemployment rate falling to 12.1%.
“Our work and commitment to further reducing unemployment will continue and employers are central to this ambition. Already, my Department has a range of employer supports and services to help businesses expand and find the right recruits. One example of our services, which will of interest to employers, is the JobsPlus wage subsidy scheme. Through this scheme, regular cash payments are made to employers to offset wage costs where they employ people who have been on the Live Register for more than 12 months.”
JobsPlus offers a grant of €7,500 paid over two years to an employer who hires a jobseeker who has been unemployed for 12 months or more. The grant increases to €10,000 if the jobseeker has been more than two years’ unemployed. Since JobsPlus was launched in July 2013, it has helped to support more than 1,280 full-time jobs.
Minister Burton continued: “I am also asking employers in Ireland to follow the example of their counterparts in countries like Germany and Austria and be willing to give not alone young jobseekers but also long-term unemployed people work, training and apprenticeship opportunities.”
The Minister went on to visit the Jobs and Advice Fair in the Blanchardstown Centre. The Fair, which was organised by the Department of Social Protection in association with Blanchardstown Centre, is aimed at Irish and EU workers looking for jobs locally and throughout Europe.
Irish companies at the Fair include PayPal, Mercury Engineering, Irish Home Care, Right at Home-Home Care, Nurse on Call, Flexsource Solutions, Crowne Plaza Blanchardstown, FMI-Field Management Ireland, Translation.ie, Jaguar Land Rover and FAAC Electronics Ltd. and they are recruiting for the following vacancies:
Multi-lingual Customer Support/Telesales Construction & Technical Engineering
Direct Sales Roles Project Manager (Translation/Interpretation)
Account/Credit Control Clerical
Manufacturing Hotel & Catering
Education & Training Providers together with Irish Advice and Welfare Agencies and experts in Taxation and Business Start-Up are also in attendance. The Jobs and Advice Fair is open until 7pm this evening (Friday 28th February).
The Minister’s final engagement today is the opening of Navan Road Intreo Centre. Intreo Centres provide a one-stop shop for jobseekers where they can get their income supports and employment supports in the one place for the first time. Previously, the 8,450 customers of the Navan Road office had to visit three different premises to access these supports.
Speaking with staff and guests in Navan Road Intreo Centre, Minister Burton explained: “Here in Navan Road Intreo Centre, case officers are working closely with jobseekers to create Personal Progression Plans for them and go through the range of employment and training supports on offer. In that respect, we will spend more than €1 billion this year on work, training and education places and related supports. In return for those supports, we expect jobseekers to engage with our services – this is the social contract.”
Minister Burton reminded employers that Navan Road Intreo Centre also provides services for employers, helping them find recruits for vacancies and providing information on the JobsPlus wage subsidy scheme and JobBridge, the National Internship scheme.
The Minister concluded her visit by expressing her thanks to the OPW for their work in developing the physical infrastructure in Navan Road Intreo Centre and to the staff in the Centre for the excellent service they have been providing over many years.
Note for Editors
The Intreo process consists of five main elements:
An integrated 'one-stop-shop' reception service: This replaces the three previously separate services from FÁS, the Department of Social Protection and the Community Welfare Service (HSE). In practice, this means that the client receives complete information on a more timely basis in one location, and that all follow-on appointments can be scheduled at the same time.
A single decisions process: Previously, clients submitting claims for social welfare payments might have had to wait some time for their claim to be awarded as details of their employment status and income were assessed. While awaiting this payment, clients were entitled, by submitting a separate claim to the Community Welfare Service, to an emergency Supplementary Welfare Allowance payment. The new Intreo process significantly reduces the time taken to decide a claim and those clients who might still require a supplementary payment can have this decision made as part of the single process rather than having to submit a separate claim. As part of the decisions process, a personal profile (known as PEX) is captured for each individual and this profile informs the approach taken at the next stage in the process – activation.
An integrated activation/employment service process: Previously clients had to wait at least three months before an appointment could be made with an employment services officer, and in some cases this appointment had to be triggered by the client themselves.
Now, under the new process, all clients must attend a group engagement session – typically within a week or two of registering for jobseekers' payments. Depending on their personal profile, they are subsequently scheduled for follow-on one-to-one meetings with an experienced employment services officer.
The group engagement session is designed to give clients basic information on their entitlements and the services that are available to them in order to help them return to work. Each client is given a fact sheet in preparation for and in advance of the one-to-one meeting.
At the one-to-one meeting, the employment services officer/case worker will go into greater detail as to the employment and training supports available and help the client to prepare a Personal Progression Plan (PPP).
Follow-up meetings are then scheduled to monitor progress against the plan and to adjust it, as circumstances dictate. Clients may also be contacted in the periods between one-to-one meetings to check if the client is following the actions agreed under the PPP.
Ultimately clients who, despite the assistance of their case officer cannot make progress on the pathway into employment/further education, may be directed to, and required to, take up a place on a State employment or training scheme.
Social Contract – Rights and Responsibilities: This contract underpins the Intreo approach.
It is a record of the commitments being made by the Intreo service and also of the commitments expected of clients who avail of that service. In other words, a social contract to ensure that all parties understand that with rights to supports from the Department come responsibilities to engage with those services. The commitments expected of clients are that they will:
- Co-operate with the Intreo service in developing a Personal Progression Plan.
- Use this plan to strive to secure employment.
- Attend all meetings requested by the Department.
- Provide all information requested by the Department.
- Clients who register for the service will be expected to sign and honour this Record of Mutual Commitments.
- Failure to honour this commitment can lead to a reduction in, and ultimately a cessation of, payments.
Employer Engagement: The Department already offers a suite of services that can assist employers in recruiting staff from the Live Register. These include:
· Job advertising and job-matching services (jobsireland.ie)
· An internship scheme - JobBridge (jobbridge.ie)
· Financial supports for recruiting long-term unemployed people – JobsPlus (jobsplus.ie)
· In-work supports to employees – Part-time Job Incentive scheme and Family Income Supplement
· WorkAbility services, including wage subsidies and grants, for employing people with a disability.