In efforts to increase employment among 18 – 25 year olds in Ireland, The Department of Social Protection has recently launched two new schemes, First Steps and JobsPlus youth.
First Steps, as the name may suggest, in fact contains a series of steps:
- You must be eligible for social welfare.
- You must receive a pre-placement training course, funded by the Department to prepare you for work placement
- You may then work for four days a week for six or nine months. You will receive an additional €50 to your social welfare for your work per week. (May not be a lot but sounds like you have a job, so far, so good. After all, experience is invaluable when you’re starting out.)
- You must use the fifth day of each week to undertake ‘other activities related to job-search‘ (Wait, what? Why am I searching for a job? Don’t I have one?)
- You will be supported by a case officer and a mentor from your sponsoring organisation. (Two people are helping me to find a job, while I already *have* a job..?)
- You might be lucky enough to find placement with companies such as Tesco and Diageo. (Such large, profit organisations are eligible for this scheme? And are willing to offer me a mentor dedicated to helping me find another job while I have some kind of job/placement with them?)
Perhaps the ‘JobsPlus’ in JobsPlus youth indicates that the job(s) is(are) even *more* real than in First Steps?
- You must be unemployed for at least 4 months in the last 6 months – and eligible for social welfare.
- There are two payment options to the employer – approximately €312 a month per person unemployed between 4 and 24 months and approximately €416 a month per person unemployed for more than 24 months. (Wait – how much of this goes to the employee? Is there a limit to the number of days or hours I will work under this scheme? Where can I find out more information?)
- You must work a minimum of 30 hours across 4 days in any 7 day period in a full time position. Part-time, short term or seasonal positions will not be eligible under JobPlus Youth. (According to an additional source)
- You will earn €? per week (I couldn’t find this information)
- Bonus: If you are currently on a JobBridge scheme you may be eligible for a full-time JobPlus Youth position after 3 months!
“..if you have the required 312 days on the Live Register in the previous 18 months, or 624 days in the previous 30 months.”
(Wait, so a JobBridge can lead to a JobsPlus now? How many steps are there to a ‘Job’?)
The title reference to “New Jobs [sic]” may refer to positions that are neither “new” nor “jobs”, but are in fact traineeships formerly known as jobs.
First Steps does seem to guarantee “new” work for case officers in the Department of Social Protection – ages of case workers not confirmed at this time**
Notes to Editors:
EU Wide Youth Guarantee Compliance
These two schemes are Ireland’s efforts as part of an EU Wide Youth Guarantee to ensure that
young people under the age of 25 receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship** within four months of entering the labour market.
**The above two schemes definitely tick the traineeship offer, although there is no common European definition of this word. Indeed pg. 7 of one working document from the EU Commission notes the risk that
young people might have to do several traineeships before they find a proper job