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Labour plans new jobseekers agency

The Labour Party wants to replace the state training agency Fas with a 'one stop shop' for jobseekers.

The "national employment service" would advertise jobs and pay welfare benefits while providing training and advice.

Ruairi Quinn, the party's education and science spokesman, said their proposals include a new 'earn and learn' scheme so workers whose hours have been cut could train in new skills.

"The new agency would integrate employment services to jobseekers previously carried out by FAS, with the delivery of social protection benefits," he said.

"An integrated national employment service would also provide a one stop shop for people seeking to establish their benefit entitlements, looking for a job, and seeking advice about training options."

If handed power, the party is also promising to set up a 'bridge the gap' website that links up employers with apprentices and graduates, with interns getting welfare payments during six-month placements.

Labour has pledged an extra 30,000 training places as well across the entire education and training system.

"We need to match education and training to the future needs of the economy," said Mr Quinn.

"It means we have to look at how and where training is delivered; new ways of combining work and training or education and innovative ways of using the considerable wealth of skills that our people possess."

PA Media