Revelations of the fees paid to two private companies for referral of jobseekers to the JobPath scheme expose the scheme as nothing but a shocking waste of taxpayer’s money. Turas Nua has received €75.7 million and Seetec has received €73.7 million since JobPath started.
From my very first week in the Seanad, I have been trying to get a figure for how much these two private companies are paid for each candidate referred that makes it successfully through the scheme. We now have that figure of €3,718. That is a huge amount of taxpayer’s money. Given this large amount paid for a person who has completed 52 weeks of work, it was shocking to learn that since the scheme started only 7% were still in employment after 12 months.
We also learned that an initial referral fee of €311 is paid to the companies. They get this fee with no guarantee of any future employment. I have been inundated with people telling me that they have been referred twice. Essentially, these companies are receiving two payments of €311 for each of the 11,000 people who were referred twice.
How Minister Regina Doherty can claim that the scheme is value for money is beyond me. Many people have complained about the scheme itself, including lack of adequate and relevant training, long distances to travel and lack of any direction towards sustainable employment. Then there is the fiasco around people being referred twice in a short space of time. Once again the Government has no strategy for bringing employment so they do what they do best – have private companies pick up and make a massive profit off the Government’s own neglect.
JobPath needs to end and the Government need to come up with a real strategy for bringing employment to Mayo. Packing people off to private companies that have little knowledge or regard for them is treating unemployed people in Mayo with contempt. With the release of figures yesterday I want to hear from Fine Gael TDs in Mayo as to whether they still think the scheme is viable, working well and fit for the future.