Getting Ireland Working

Keeping Talent at Home: Tackling the Scourge of Forced Emigration – Varadkar & O’Dowd

FG Plans will provide opportunities at home for the 100,000 likely to emigrate in next 2 years

Fine Gael’s 5 Point Plan to Get Ireland Working contains a series of measures offering opportunities to thousands of the 100,000 people predicted to emigrate in the next two years, according to Fine Gael’s Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Spokesman, Leo Varadkar and the Education & Skills Spokesman Fergus O’Dowd.

Q&A – 45,000 Youth Placements

Are you abolishing FAS? What will happen to FAS?

FAS will continue to exist for a time but under a completely different governance structure and corporate mission. No longer will it be trying to do all things for all sectors which have led to much duplication and waste. For instance its ‘Services to Business’ functions will end entirely. Community Employment schemes will be maintained and expanded but will be managed by local authorities instead of FAS. The 440,000+ on the live register means that we are reliant on existing FAS centres for certain training for the time being.

What we are proposing is to establish a new ‘one stop shop’ for getting back to work, the Payments and Entitlements Service. It will provide extensive skills assessment, training guidance and job referral services to the unemployed, as well as other welfare and service entitlements. It will use a training voucher system to allow the skilled unemployed who have specific training needs to acquire positions in courses run by the wider education system and private sector. These courses would be better suited for their needs without having to be reliant on fixed FAS courses that might not be relevant or suitable. Existing FAS centres will still be providing courses for basic upskilling in areas such as computers and administrative training.

How many FAS staff are you firing?

We realise that FAS cannot be changed overnight. The scale of the jobs crisis means that we will still need FAS centres for some time to come. However, under a completely new governance structure it is management positions that will be scaled back rather than frontline staff.

How much will the 45,000 places cost and how will you pay for it?

It is important to note that we are targeting unemployed people on the live register so that welfare savings are taken into account. Therefore the net cost of all these position is an additional €177 million a year. And this cost is incorporated into our overall fiscal plan which will be published on Thursday.

See separate note for specific details.
How long will FG maintain these positions?
We’ll keep it under review through a term in Government.
Will these plans result in jobs displacement?
We are in the midst of a jobs crisis with few new jobs being created. Rather than see our best and brightest taking their skills overseas we want to keep them here. Rather than having a teaching graduate sit on the dole we want to see them getting on the job experience while pursing further high education. Then when a position opens up they would be first in line for a new job.