Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, has welcomed the Government’s new Pathways to Work initiative which aims to help 75,000 long term unemployed people move into the workforce by 2015.
“A large number of people in Kildare North have been affected by the unemployment scourge, either directly or through a loved one who has lost their job. Pathways for Work aims to stop the slide of people into long term unemployment (over 12 months) and to ensure that as many job opportunities as possible are filled by people who are on the live register. The State will engage with every jobseeker to make sure that their first day out of a job is also their first step on the pathway back to work.
“This involves a more streamlined approach, with the establishment of the National Employment and Entitlements Service (NEES). In addition to processing welfare entitlements, NEES employees will actively provide needs assessments and engage with newly unemployed people. It will then offer job search assistance or appropriate education, training or work experience opportunities to increase their employability.
“Many of the measures involved represent basic common sense and reflect international norms in relation to State involvement in supporting jobseekers. Unfortunately, under the last Government, State support for jobseekers cost a huge amount and delivered little as was evidenced by the FÁS debacle.
“I urge jobseekers in Kildare North to engage with their local employment office and to avail of all opportunities to avail of jobs or training opportunities. Jobseekers who refuse to avail of these opportunities will see a reduction in the jobseekers benefit.
“Similarly, I urge local businesses in Kildare North to re-engage with their local employment office when they have a vacancy to fill so as they can be matched up with the most suitable jobseekers. The Government has incentivised job creation by reducing VAT in labour intensive sectors such as tourism and halving the lower rate of employers PRSI.
“We have a highly skilled and educated workforce and this Government is determined that the mistakes of the 1980s and 1990s, when unemployment remained high even after economic recovery took hold, are not repeated. No one who loses their job should be able to drift without support into long term unemployment.”