Dáil Éireann - Volume 389 - 27 April, 1989
Written Answers. - Jobsearch Programme.
Mr. McCartan Mr. McCartan
25. Mr. McCartan asked the Minister for Social Welfare if his attention has been drawn to recent protests by participants concerning the operation of the Jobsearch project at the St. John Vianney School, Bonnybrook, Dublin 5; if his attention has been drawn to widespread dissatisfaction among those on the course; if he intends to take any steps to improve the relevance and usefulness of the course; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods) Michael J. Woods
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The Jobsearch Programme has been a major success since its introduction in April 1987 as a new service giving priority and assistance to the unemployed, especially the long-term unemployed. Up to the end of March 1989 over 212,000 unemployed persons have been interviewed under the programme. Of these over 12,600 have been placed in employment and close to 97,000 have been placed in Manpower schemes, mainline training courses or on Jobsearch courses.
I am not aware of any recent protest by participants as a whole at the Jobsearch Course centre at St. John Vianney School, Bonnybrook, County Dublin.
I did receive representations from a small group to which I replied towards the end of last year about the use of Irish  material for the course at this centre. I am also aware of a picket mounted outside the centre in early February last by persons whom, I understand, were not course participants. While individuals at the centre may have expressed reservations on occasions about the content of the course, a significant majority of those who have furnished observations on the course from among some 600 who have completed Jobsearch courses there, have indicated that they were well satisfied with them.
The content of these courses has been specially designed by persons with professional competence in this area and its relevance and usefulness is kept under review. I am satisfied it contributes significantly to improving the jobseeking skills of those who avail themselves of the opportunities it presents. So far over 25,000 people have completed over 1,800 courses at 280 locations throughout the country. Two separate studies in the early stages of the programme established that around three quarters of those who completed these courses had derived value from them and indications from a balanced cross section of urban and rural centres since then continues to support these early positive results.
Since the Deputy submitted his question, a very small group of men (6) carrying placards briefly picketed outside the private residence where I hold my clinic in Bonnybrook in protest against the Jobsearch programme in general. As I came out one of the group took photographs while I was talking to other members carrying placards. I found this anxiety to take personal photographs unusual in the circumstances. It was also unusual that the group did not seek to meet me at the clinic to discuss their views especially as I had met delegations about other matters on the same morning.
Dáil Éireann 389 Written Answers. Jobsearch Programme.