Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has called for a review of the JobPath scheme, following stark figures detailing the scheme’s failure to secure sustainable employment for almost 290,000 participants describing it as ‘a drain on Taxpayers’ money’.
During a recent Committee meeting, Teachta Kerrane questioned Minister Humphreys about her plans to review the scheme, which has cost the taxpayer over €322m since it was introduced in 2015.
As of the end of December, 350,488 people had been referred to JobPath with 32,000 of these still active on the scheme. This means that 318,488 have completed the scheme and, of this number, just 29,041 found employment lasting one year. This leaves 289,447 having secured no long-term employment through the scheme.
Sinn Féin have opposed the JobPath scheme since it was rolled out, and have stood against government moves towards the privatisation of job activation services.
Teachta Kerrane said:
“The figures speak for themselves and it is clear that JobPath has been a costly disaster.
“Yet, despite this, Minister Humphreys would not give me a specific commitment about if and when the scheme will be reviewed by her Department.
“It is crucial that JobPath is reviewed given the amount of taxpayers’ money that was spent and the success rate regarding finding sustainable employment for participants; some of whom were referred three times to the scheme, resulting in three separate referral fees for the private companies involved.
“Now JobPath is winding up we can see that schemes which commercialise Jobseekers do not provide sustainable employment in the longer term. If scheme providers are concerned only with placing people in any job so they can secure their fee, then what is best for the person seeking employment will not be a priority.
“During my exchange with the Minister, she stated that she is more focused on the new set of employment services that have been introduced this year rather than reviewing JobPath, which again raises serious concerns.
“The new model of employment services is also for-profit and has replaced the previous community-based job activation models which were offered by Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs until last summer.
“It is crucial that a review of JobPath be carried out as soon as possible, to ensure that the same mistakes are not made again.
“Focus should be on improving job activation schemes to ensure that people are supported in securing sustainable employment. It is also important that schemes do not waste taxpayers’ money lining the pockets of private companies.
“I am again calling on the Minister to commit to a full review of the JobPath scheme, and for her to provide a concrete timeline of when that will happen.”