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Jobseekers must be at ‘top of the queue’ for new work - Taoiseach

Last update - Thursday, March 1, 2012, 15:06 By Metro Éireann

Jobseekers who want to continue receiving welfare support must actively seek work and engage with employment or training services, the Taoiseach has said.

Launching the Govern-ment’s Pathways to Work scheme, which is aimed at creating more job opportunities in the State, Taoiseach Enda Kenny added that the coalition “will not stand over a system where some people are left abandoned on the dole queues with no engagement with employment services”.
He added: “When new job opportunities arise we want unemployed people to be at the top of the queue. For this to happen, people will have to engage with the National Employment and Entitlements Service to get the necessary advice and support.
“People at high risk of unemployment will be supported through group interviews, one-on-one sessions, and appointments with career specialists.”
The Taoiseach promised that the Government would, if required, provide “further training or work experience opportunities” to help people upskill and improve their chances of finding work.
But he also warned that “those who refuse offers of support and don’t actively search for employment will put their welfare entitlements at risk.
“We cannot allow a situation to stand where some people are left isolated on dole queues and drift further from the work force with each passing month.”
The Taoiseach also highlighted reforms of benefit schemes to encourage people in part-time work to take up full-time employment when the opportunity arises.
Amendments include changing the payment week for jobseeker’s benefit to a five-day week rather than the previous six-day week.
In addition, from January 2013 employment on a Sunday will be taken into account when determining the level of entitlement to jobseeker’s payments.
“These changes will reduce the amount of jobseeker benefit payable to casual workers and thereby encourage workers to take up offers of full-time employment rather than combining part-time employment with social welfare payments,” the Taoiseach said.
The Small Firms Association (SFA) is among the groups that have welcomed the Government’s Pathways to Work initiative.
“Small firms are committed to supporting the Govern-ment’s job creation effort,” said SFA director Patricia Callan. “However it is essential that the needs of small businesses are met by jobseekers.
“Specifically, we need to ensure that the training unemployed people receive is directly related to the job areas where vacancies are likely to occur. There is no point in squandering money just training people for training’s sake.”

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