Jobseekers in benefits halt warning
Thousands of unemployed people could have their benefits stopped if they do not take up a range of new training projects.
Up to 6,500 jobless people will be offered places on free education and training programmes under a scheme to tackle the long-term unemployment crisis. Anyone in receipt of a jobseekers payment must take up a place on the Government initiative, called Momentum, if offered.
"If they fail to do so, their payment may be disallowed," the Department of Social Protection confirmed. "The issues surrounding any refusals to participate would be considered on a case-by-case basis."
The 62 programmes - in digital media, healthcare, social services, ITC, green economy, food processing, sales and marketing - will be run in almost 90 locations nationwide by private and public training bodies.
Applicants can see a list of full and part-time courses on www.momentumskills.ie and apply though an employment services office to be matched to a programme. Specific courses will also be available for under-25s.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said Momentum, which is administered by FAS, marries skills and job experience and is a significant innovation in how public money is spent on further education and training.
"We all know that budgets are tight, in households and in the Government departments," he added. "But, we are committed to ensuring that our limited resources are targeted and allow unemployed people to access high quality and relevant education and training."
More than 415,000 people claimed unemployment benefits last month, with 186,000 of those out of work for a year.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Government's priority is to get people back to work.
"Too many of our fellow men and women are without work," he said. "Too many children are growing up in households where no-one has a job."