Reader's Blog: Unemployed need support

In addition to issuing more work permits to workers from overseas, could I suggest that the Government support and encourage, in a respectful way, the (approx) 200,000 people who are currently on the Live Register in this country? 

I would like to further suggest that they also bring the same respectful, constructive approach to the (approx) 60,000 people who are currently participating in pointless ‘activation’ schemes, in this country. The Government treats these people in a shameful manner and it is even more shameful that they are completely ignoring the many people who are still unemployed in this country.

Many of the people on these ‘activation’ schemes do real, skilled work but do not get the pay and other rewards that should go with such work, nor do they get any worthwhile training, while participating in these schemes. To add insult to injury, scheme participants are not counted as unemployed, even though they actually are ‘unemployed’, in reality. Very few employers place any value on these schemes vis a vis ‘work experience’, so why continue with a failed, expensive policy?

Unemployed people could, obviously, make a great contribution to reducing the skills shortage, if they were encouraged in a respectful and constructive manner. There are currently 43,000 tradespeople on the Live Register; why are they being ignored, in the light of the current skills shortage in the building industry?

The current Government is pursuing a right-wing policy on unemployment, which not only grossly disrespects unemployed people, but also wastes hundreds of millions of euro every year on these ‘activation’ schemes and also on pointless educational measures such as Springboard. 

We need to forget about year-long and multi-year training for the unemployed and focus on short, term-length courses that are job relevant and where the skills learned are still in demand, when participants have completed such a course. 

A lot of relevant skills can be learned in three months. By the same token, employers need to do their bit to help encourage unemployed people by giving them decent paying jobs during, or after these short courses.

Tim Buckley

White St

Cork City

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