The news that 2000 additional places are to be made available on the Community Employment Programme has been welcomed by Fine Gael Offaly County Councillor Nichola Hogan.
The extension will bring the total number of Community Employment places this year to 25,300 as part of the Government’s wider efforts to help jobseekers to become employment-ready and find a job, training or educational opportunity.
“Community Employment plays a vital role for both jobseekers and their communities,” commented Councillor Hogan. “It provides work experience, including appropriate training, for jobseekers - which helps them to take up work on the open labour market by developing their skills, experience and confidence. The programme benefits the whole community,” she added.
Councillor Hogan also welcomed news that the Department of Social Protection will spend more than €1 billion on activation programmes and other supports this year to help jobseekers acquire the work experience, skills and qualifications they need to return to full-time employment.”
The additional places will target specifically the growing number of long-term unemployed as well other welfare claimants who are over a year in receipt of payments. They will be allocated on a phased basis.
Priority will be given to schemes and organisations who are involved in the delivery of community childcare services, and social and healthcare services for people with a disability. This is in order to support the provision of these services and offer training qualifications and work experience to CE participants. An allocation of 500 additional places will be reserved for childcare support and 500 places for social and health-related services.
Priority will be given to applicants who are involved in Drug Rehabilitation Services and who consider participation on CE to be a further step in this process. Additional CE places will be made available to respond to new proposals.
Innovation, new approaches and models of delivery from organisations will be encouraged and supported. Up to 100 places will be reserved for such proposals.
The balance of places will be made available to schemes who can demonstrate a clear justification on the basis of quality of service and performance.
For all applications, priority will be given to schemes and organisations who can demonstrate a track record in the development and progression of participants into employment.
“Existing CE schemes can apply for additional places in the normal way by applying to their local Department of Social Protection office. This can be done at roll-over of the scheme. Schemes that are in mid-term can also make a submission to their local office. Schemes can contact their local Social Protection office for further detail,” concluded Cllr Hogan.