The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, T.D.,on Wednesday launched a public online consultation to inform the strategic direction of the Government’s key activation framework, Pathways to Work.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is currently engaged in a programme of change to build on the success of previous versions of Pathways to Work and capitalise on a much improved economic landscape.
Minister Doherty said: “Over 2.3 million people are now at work, with sustained jobs growth for 28 consecutive quarters. The unadjusted unemployment rate is 5.4%, down from 6% in the same period last year, and a significant reduction from the peak of 15.9% in 2012. The current national employment strategy is coming to a conclusion and now is the time to put in place a successor strategy to guide us over the coming years.”
From now until noon on 25 September 2019, interested parties and members of the public, including jobseekers, are invited to make a submission on issues or themes relevant to their interest, with a particular focus on the development of the Intreo Public Employment Service, or fill out an online survey available here on the Department’s website. This feedback will help the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to develop a new Pathways to Work strategy.
Minister Doherty added: “The growth we have seen over recent years is most welcome but our labour market policies and programmes must be designed to give every citizen the opportunity to benefit from a thriving labour market, through employment or entrepreneurship opportunities, while remaining resilient against the possibility of a Brexit-related economic shock. I would urge all interested parties to let their views be known and share their own ideas.”
The new Pathways to Work strategy, covering the period 2020-2024, will complement the ambitions of Future Jobs Ireland, with a particular focus on increasing participation levels among underrepresented groups and those distant from the labour market (i.e. female returners, people with disabilities, migrants, etc.) and ensuring that all jobseekers have the opportunity to compete for available job vacancies. Addressing long-term and youth unemployment will also remain a key priority of the strategy over the coming years.
Furthermore, as the skills and jobs landscape changes over the coming years, the State – and in particular, the Intreo Public Employment Service – will need to deliver tailored services to those who are not in receipt of welfare payments but require assistance in their job seeking or upskilling efforts – including the development of return to work services and personalised advice and information to workforce returnees on skills requirements, training options and available in-work supports.
Engagement with the further education and training sector will also be crucial to improve the quality of training, apprenticeship and guidance opportunities available to workers that wish to upskill or change career direction.
The emerging themes and issues from the public consultation process will inform the drafting of the new Pathways to Work strategy for the period 2020-2024 and it is expected that the strategy will be published early in 2020.