The numbers of people availing of activation programmes has increased by over 10,000 in the last twelve months. According to the latest figures released from the Central Statistics Office today, there were 81,440 people availing of these programmes in March 2012, which is an increase of 10,418 (+14.7%) from the previous year. There were 71,022 people on activation programmes in March 2011.
Welcoming the increase Minister Burton said: “While the Live Register figures are still too high, the Department of Social Protection is engaging with jobseekers in order to support them and their families in progressing into employment. One of the key concepts in Pathways to Work is the relationship between the jobseeker and the Department. In accepting payment of benefit and support, the jobseeker shall agree to avail of the appropriate support measures offered during the course of the activation process, whether this is employment, education, training or placement in employment schemes”
Two schemes administered by the Department of Social Protection contribute significantly to the increase. JobBridge, the national internship scheme has only been in operation since July 2011 but already over 6,800 have availed of internships to date with 4,690 on the programme currently. There are currently a further 1,931 internships advertised on the JobBridge website www.jobbridge.ie
Tús is a community work placement initiative aimed at providing up to 5,000 short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year. Tús began operations in July 2011 and expects to have all 5,000 work placements filled in the coming months. The initiative is being delivered through the network of 52 Local Development Companies nationally and Údarás na Gaeltachta in Gaeltacht areas and there are currently nearly 4,000 people availing of the scheme.
Minister Burton concluded: “It is also significant that there were 88,442 casual and part-time workers on the Live Register in April representing over 20% of the total Live Register. This reflects the changing work patterns which are more the norm in Ireland in recent times”