For Oral Answer on : 22/03/2022
Question Number(s): 38 Question Reference(s): 14682/22
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Social Protection the measures that her Department is taking to assist and support persons who find it difficult to gain employment; the way in which such measures are evaluated; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Pathways to Work 2021-2025, the Government’s national employment strategy, was published in July of last year. The goal of Pathways to Work is to help ensure that as many jobs as possible go to people who are unemployed. The strategy is not just about those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, it is also about helping those who, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, faced disadvantage in the labour market.
One of the strategy’s five key strands is ‘Working for All – Leaving No one Behind’, which has the objective of promoting better labour market outcomes for all, including those facing additional barriers to work such as lone parents, people with disabilities, minority groups, older people who may be distanced from the labour market and people who have been away from the labour market for some time and are seeking to return to employment. Pathways to Work has targeted measures aimed at reducing unemployment for each of these groups.
For example, a key goal in the Pathways strategy is to increase employment rates of people with disabilities. Measures aimed at helping people withdisabilities find employment include implementing the Early Engagement Roadmap for jobseekers with disabilities who wish to voluntarily engage with my Department’s employment services.
The Traveller and Roma community face particular disadvantage in the labour market. Pathways to Work commits to engaging with community representative bodies to produce Traveller (and/or Roma)-specific employment service engagement tools and developing a Traveller and Roma training, enterprise and employment plan.
Moreover, since a Government decision in December 2021, my Department through its Intreo offices will promote more referrals to Community Employment schemes of people most distant from the labour market including persons with disabilities, members of the Traveller and Roma communities, ex-offenders and migrant groups, who meet the eligibility criteria.
In terms of evaluation of Pathways commitments, progress made with respect to the delivery of its 83 commitments is reported on a quarterly basis. External oversight of the strategy falls under the remit of the Labour Market Advisory Council, which will provide me with an annual report outlining its view on progress, remedial actions that may need to be taken and any new actions that it considers should be included. This report will be published on the Department’s website in Q4 of each year.
Furthermore, a formal review of the strategy will be undertaken with the Labour Market Advisory Council and an updated strategy will be published in 2023. This robust oversight will ensure that Pathways to Work adapts as necessary to future labour market challenges.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.