Tanaiste and Minister for Social Welfare, Joan Burton,used her visit to meet CE trainees at the Fr. McGrath Centre this week to make an important announcement on changes to the Community Employment (C.E) and TUS schemes.
The Minister confirmed that changes she had put in place for the Community Employment Schemes will include dropping the qualifying age from 25 years to 21 years and in future, places on the TUS scheme can be by self- referred. Both these changes will have important implications for the long term unemployed, especially young people, as both these schemes offer tens of thousands of places in community setting across the country.
The Minister said, ‘With unemployment rates now down to 10% it is clear proof that Ireland is getting back to work. Further opportunities will also be created for young and unemployed people later this year when the Youth Guarantee and Job Path come on stream.’
The widely popular and hugely successful Community Employment training schemes allow people to work in their communities for 19.5 hours per week instead of taking dole payments and avail of part time employment or further training opportunities for the rest of the week without affecting their payments. The schemes also provide valuable training opportunities to the unemployed and has assisted tens of thousands of people return to work or move on to further education opportunities over the last twenty years.
These schemes have also played a vital role in cities and villages across Ireland where they have helped to get thousands of important social and community projects like the Fr. McGrath Centre Family Resource Centre off the ground.
The change to the TUS scheme, similar in nature to the CE schemes, was also warmly welcomed by community leaders as up to now places were offered by random lot to long term unemployed people and the many people who wanted to take up this option were excluded from applying.
Better opportunities for the Young:
Stephen Murphy Director of Services at the Fr. McGrath Centre said:
‘I think CE schemes have been one of the most important social employment support training programmes ever established by the state not just for the many thousands of people who used them to retrain and get back into the labour market but for thousands of urban and rural communities who can thank them for kick starting and developing important community projects in their area.’
He added: ‘The Fr. McGrath Centre is a classic example of what can be achieved by CE trainees as almost every social programme started in our centre owes its existence to CE workers. Our family centre is literally ‘the house that C.E. built.’
Community leaders also warmly welcomed dropping the age people could start on CE schemes from 25 to 21 years as it will now open valuable training opportunities to many thousands of young unemployed people across the country.
Mr. Murphy said, ‘This change combined with the Youth Guarantee and the Job Path programme starting later this year will be a game changer in helping to get the tens of thousands of young people off the dole and into paid employment at last.’