A Changing Market Means We Must Change the Way We Approach Back to Work Initiatives – Minister Pat Breen.
Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen said work should begin immediately to find a new, more appropriate training and work experience programme to replace JobBridge.
“There is no disputing that JobBridge has run its course, and the Indecon report and Local Market Council has confirmed what I had been suggesting for the last number of months, a new system that reflects a changing market must be found in the bid to get even more people back to work,” said Minister Breen.
“JobBridge was launched in 2011 at the height of the economic crash, when youth unemployment and emigration were soaring. The economy and labour markets have changed dramatically for the better since then, as employers hire again and unemployment is down to less than eight per cent,” he said.
“As the market changes however we must also change how we approach back to work assistance and initiatives so that they are effective at targeting the jobs market as it is now.
“While JobBridge was successful in helping unemployed people return to the jobs market, and two thirds of its participants continue to be in employment, it has served its purpose. As the market changes so to do the number and types of jobs available. It follows on that our approach to assisting people to find employment in a changing economy must also shift.
“And some of that work has already begun, even within my own Department, where new forms of apprenticeships in areas where employment is growing are being encouraged and supported. Just recently I attended the announcement by Eirtech Aviation that 14 candidates have been selected to train at its operations base in Shannon Airport,” added Minister Breen.
“Following the closure of JobBridge the Department of Social Protection will now hold a consultation process on the principles proposed by the Labour Market Council, including a proposal that all participants should be paid the net minimum wage which my Department fought to have increased in the budget just last week,” he said.
The JobBridge programme will close to new applications from this Friday and will be wound down. Those currently on the programme will be able to complete their internship.