Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, TD and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD have today announced a range of activation measures aimed at helping people get back to work or education quickly.
The combined value of both Ministers’ measures amounts to over €200 million. This is a significant level of investment that will provide over 80,000 additional places for those who find themselves unemployed.
As part of the two packages of support an additional 35,500 in the higher and further education sector and 45,500 new employment support places are being created. These measures supplement both Departments’ existing range of programmes and will provide a comprehensive suite of supports available to the unemployed. The programmes aim to upskill, reskill, retrain and provide experience to individuals to enable them to avail of employment opportunities.
The measures also provide enhanced incentives to employers to recruit more apprentices and the young unemployed.
For instance, some of the measures in the July Stimulus Package include;
- The Apprenticeship Recruitment Incentive which will provide a financial incentive for companies who recruit apprentices of up to €3,000;
- Enhance the JobsPlus Subsidy Scheme to provide subsidies of up to €7,500 over two years for employers who hire someone who is unemployed and under the age of 30;
- 35,500 new places in further and higher education to help people reskill and if necessary change their careers;
- 45,500 new places in employment support schemes including;
· the creation of a new work experience programme; and
· extensions to both the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance and the Back to Education Allowances.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “Covid-19 has turned many of our lives upside down. For some of us, the pandemic has resulted in a loss of employment and maybe the loss of a career path.
“The pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on younger workers and those in lower paid occupations. The pace of workplace change has also accelerated; digital skills are essential in almost all occupations. A “once and done” approach to education and training is no longer enough. Upskilling, reskilling and refreshing of skills need to be supported throughout people’s working lives.
“The package of funding for higher and further education and training to address this situation amounts to €100 million and will fund over 35,500 places in the current year. This includes 19,000 full and part time places through the Skills to Complete programme aimed at unemployed people seeking work. This initiative will assist people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic by offering them reskilling opportunities in sustainable areas of employment including health care, childcare, eCommerce, software development and online sales.
“We will also offer 3,300 one year post grad courses in areas where there is a skills need at a cost of only 10% to the student.
“I am particularly excited about the Apprenticeship Recruitment Incentive. For the first time, we will financially incentivise employers to hire apprentices. Employers will receive €2,000 upfront per apprentice and a further €1,000 after 12 months if the apprentice is still employed. This is good for business and good for the individual.
“For businesses, we will offer, through Skillnet Ireland Covid-19 Employment Activation Scheme, a range of supports including Covid training supports, new digital skills, management training and a Climate Action Upskilling Scheme.”
Minister Humphreys said: “Yesterday the Government announced an extensive range of measures designed to support people, businesses and local communities recover from the economic impact of Covid-19. I am proud to announce a comprehensive suite of employment support measures that will work in tandem with the measures announced by Minister Harris to support almost 80,000 people secure a fresh start and rebuild their lives.
“The measures I am introducing will enable people secure invaluable work experience, skills training and provide income support should they wish to start up a business or return to education. It is important that we provide a comprehensive suite of measures to provide the necessary assistance and support to the thousands of individuals who through no fault of their own have become unemployed over the past four months. My aim and objective is to help as many of these people as possible to return to work, education or training.
These measures are in addition to the income support measures such as the extension to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment that will continue to April next year. The range of measures I am announcing is part of a co-ordinated approach with Minister Harris to enable people who are on income supports provided by my Department to avail of higher education and training initiatives in order to secure new employment opportunities.”