Today I penned a motion to improve the working of Community Employment Schemes. Please see the motion to support Community Employment Schemes here.
The motion aims to ensure the social element of CE Schemes, review the impact Jobpath is having on CE Schemes, allow more employees to stay on the their scheme, and to review the participation limits of older people on the scheme.
I have met with a number of constituents employed under the Community Employment Scheme. Many of those explained to me their difficulties while on the scheme. Despite these difficulties their participation in the scheme gave them an enormous source of pride and a tremendous benefit to their community. Employees from schemes in Leixlip, Broadford, Naas, Clane, and Kilcock all expressed similar difficulties with the Department of Social Protection, who fund these schemes.
Following this I went back to my party colleagues with today’s motion. Historically employment schemes have evolved as the economic climate changes. While we aim to see as many people in full time employment there is still a vital need for CE Schemes. This motion aims to solidify this ambition.
I have called on the Minister for Social Protection to immediately review the impact that JobPath is having on CE schemes in particular, with a view to ensuring that those who wish to continue to participate on CE schemes are able to do so, and to also ensure that JobPath is not draining CE schemes of participants.
I have also called on the Minister to ensure that the review of participation limits for older people on employment support schemes is cognisant of the complexities that older people face in trying to access or re-enter the labour market, and that employment support schemes can be the mechanism whereby older people can continue to make a contribution to society.
Often CE Schemes are run by volunteers who do an excellent job with very little resources. We are calling on the Minister to ensure employment support schemes are adequately resourced, including training and continuous professional development.
The motion stems from feedback I received from those involved with CE Schemes in Kildare North. I would urge the Minister to take on aboard the points set out as the benefits will be there for local communities for many more years to come.