Deputy Gerry Adams.
The much-hated Jobpath scheme looks likely to be abolished after a vote in the Dail to end referrals of jobseekers to the scheme was passed by 81 votes to 42.
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, John Brady, who moved the motion, said that the onus was on the government to respect the will of the Dáil.
“Today the majority of the Dáil voted in support of the Sinn Féin motion to immediately stop referrals to Jobpath and to invest in schemes that work” Brady said in Thursday.
“It has cost the taxpayer millions and it has caused untold damage to existing community based schemes, including the Adult Guidance Service, the Local Employment Service, Community Employment and Job Clubs,” he said.
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JobPath is an employment activation service provided to people who have been on the live register for more than 12 months and are trying to secure and sustain full-time paid employment or self-employment. It was introduced in 2015 by the then Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Joan Burton.
“Sinn Féin believed then and we have been proven right, that this scheme is more about massaging the unemployment statistics than delivering for those seeking employment. It is also about privatising public services” Louth TD Gerry Adams said during the Dáil debate.
“Sinn Féin has consistently highlighted serious concerns about the processes used within the Jobpath scheme. We have repeatedly expressed our concerns about the delivery of JobPath by two private companies, Turas Nua and Seetec.”
Figures released late last year revealed that of the almost 200,000 people referred to JobPath, only 9% had secured employment for at least one year.
“That is an appalling record of failure at a significant cost to the taxpayer” Adams said. “The only beneficiaries of JobPath have been the two private companies. Turas Nua has received €76 million and Seetec €73 million of the people’s money.
“I have heard first-hand accounts from citizens in my own constituency of the hurt and stress they have faced as a result of this bad scheme. In one instance, a mother with young children was required to organise and pay for childcare to attend JobPath offices just to do an Internet job search.
“Another woman had her jobseeker's payment cut by €25 for not signing a personal progression plan, despite having attended all the sessions in the course. That makes €76 million for Turas Nua and €25 taken from a young woman. These cases are not unique to Louth.
“JobPath should be ended and funding should now be provided to those organisations like community employment, the Local Employment Service Network and adult guidance services which have a much better record of assisting citizens in search of employment”.