Fine Gael Galway Senator, Hildegarde Naughton, has today (Wednesday) urged the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, to ensure that personal profiles of all 422,900 people on the live register are completed, to help tailor personalised employment supports for them. One of the key performance indicators of the Pathways to Work scheme, which was launched last July, is to have personal profiles of everyone on the live register and to conduct initial one to one guidance interviews with jobseekers, with 185,000 such interviews to be carried out this year. These measures are necessary to assess the skills and experience of those on the live register and to ascertain their training needs.
“The creation of personal profiles is crucial to the success of the Pathways to Work scheme. They will enable us to ascertain how long an individual has been unemployed, the implications of long term unemployment and their ability to engage with the employment services and a possible employer. To this end I hope, that the profiling of a person will involve self-development support and training before they enter into any level of employment.
“It is imperative that any psychological needs be addressed. Having been out of the work force for a long period of time many may find it difficult to re-enter the workplace without adequate holistic supports. I would ask the Minister that these interviews would not just be about ticking the right box on the page in order to create favourable statistics but would ensure a genuine understanding of the person’s situation and their needs in relation to returning to the workforce after a long period of unemployment.
“Our ability to properly assess and assist people on the live register is contingent on the creation of Intreo offices. These one stop shops for jobseekers are the vital link in the chain in the success or otherwise of our strategy to tackle long term unemployment.
“This Government inherited a passive social welfare system that didn’t empower the people it was supposed to help. Pathways to Work seeks put in place once and for all a strategy to help long term unemployed find work again.
“Long term unemployment is a cancer within our society. It is highly demoralising and skills previously acquired become obsolete thus decreasing any chance of the individual gaining meaningful employment. Long term unemployment also increases the economic burden on the State in the form of higher social welfare payments, which in turn can lead to higher Government borrowing and less tax revenue to the State. We need to ensure that all measures with the Pathways to Work scheme are being activated to the full so as to ensure that we can get as many long term unemployed people back to work.”