Question to the Minister for Social Protection (Ms. Joan Burton, TD)
To ask the Minister for Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork on blind pension is not eligible to participate in a JobBridge programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 26th November, 2013.
It is proposed to take Question Nos 324, 328, 353, 381, 382, & 383 together.
Jobbridge is limited to individuals who are in receipt of certain social welfare payments (Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit/One Parent Family Payment/Disability Allowance) or are signing on for credits for at least 3 of the last 6 months (78 Days). Participation in the scheme is voluntary. Blind Pension is not an eligible payment for JobBridge. The scheme has been launched in this targeted way to allocate scarce exchequer resources to make maximum impact for long term unemployment while ensuring that it does not replace or displace the normal operation of the labour market.
However, I wish to advise that there are a range of other supports available to assist those in receipt of Blind Pension such as the Work Placement Programme and the Wage Subsidy Scheme. I would recommend that an individual contact their local Intreo /Employment Service Office to arrange a meeting so that these and other appropriate options could be discussed in greater depth.
The projected cost of providing an additional 1,500 places for those under 25 years of age in 2014 would be approximately €7m. This is based on the places being provided on a staggered basis throughout 2014.
The ‘Contact Us’ section of the JobBridge website already provides a facility for raising queries or complaints relating to the operation of the scheme. The Department takes all allegations of abuse very seriously and all such allegations are thoroughly investigated. It is worth noting that the Department has conducted over 3,700 on-site monitoring visits to-date.
43,800 vacancies have been advertised on the JobBridge website since it came into operation. As at 21st November, 2013, 23,537 JobBridge internships had commenced. A vacancy is advertised for a maximum of 8 weeks and may be re-advertised if it is not filled.
To date, there have been a total of 59 teaching internships, of which 29 internships are still active. Of the 30 individuals who have finished teaching internships, the Department’s records indicate that 9 of these have progressed into employment on immediate completion of their internship.