Dáil Éireann - Volume 572 - 21 October, 2003

Written Answers. - Job Initiative.

  162. Mr. Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Mini[1526] ster for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will take steps to ensure that the proposed reduction of 17 placements on the current job initiative scheme administered through the Employment Network is not implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24120/03]

  Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. Fahey): The job initiative programme, JI, is a work experience programme for persons aged 35 or older who have been unemployed for five years or longer. Participants are offered temporary full-time employment for a period of three years. Eligible persons are employed by managing agents with the support of a grant from FÁS. I have no day-to-day operational function in the matter.

  A number of participants in JI which was designed as a three year programme continue to have difficulty progressing from the programme to employment and have remained on the programme since its commencement. However, the fundamental objective of the programme is to prepare participants to progress into mainstream jobs. The lack of progression for such persons gives rise to concerns regarding the effectiveness of the programme which is currently under review. Decisions on the future participation rate and structure of JI will be taken in the context of the Estimates provision for 2004, having regard to the outcome of a review process which is now nearing completion.