An announcement that 6500 education and training places are being funded for people who are long term unemployed and young adults under 25 years is welcome news. A government initiative, the Momentum Programme is hoping to prevent a “lost generation” of young people who have never worked and provide essential skills for people who are long term unemployed. The courses will be provided by a mix of public and private institutions and colleges with an emphasis on skills that are deemed to be needed in the world of work.
Quite clearly, creating opportunity that leads to work especially for the long term unemployed is imperative for the government who are in the middle of re-building a very broken economy. As part of getting the country back on its feet again, it is crucial that gaps are filled and a skilled workforce is available to meet challenges in the future. Opportunities in various sectors have been identified and the right training and skills will give potential employees access to these sectors with a view to establishing a career.
This initiative will utilise 36 training and education providers in the public and private domain. A huge range of programmes will be on offer spread across Ireland. The training courses will focus on expanding employment areas of healthcare, green economy, sales and marketing, food processing, ICT and digital media. Different counties will offer different choices when it comes to the training on offer. This may prove restrictive for under 25s and long term unemployed people if they are not able to travel far from their present location. For instance, the only training option available to the long-term unemployed in some counties is healthcare.
The under 25s however have a smorgasbord of options across all sectors. All courses will be tailored to the specific requirements of the unemployed with an emphasis on pathways back to work that enhance necessary soft skills such as communication. Attention will be given to marketing the jobseeker in today’s market place and meaningful work placements should assist with building confidence, which is often lacking in long term unemployed people.
The training provides what has been described as “significant work placement” as part of the course which will be helpful to young people who have not worked before. Momentum will only provide training in sectors where a need for skilled people has been identified. Funding for any other type of course will not be offered by this particular scheme.
Funding of €20 million has been made available from the Department of Education and Skill, and FAS will administer the programme. For the unemployed person who is signing on to the live register courses are free and operate on a full time and part time basis. The courses are aligned with the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) levels 3 to 6 or to an industry-recognised certification. The courses will run from 11 to 45 weeks duration.
Momentum Scheme Details
The scheme was officially launched on 18th December and the announcement comes not long after Budget 2013 announcements that staff cuts would be necessary across the further education sector. Momentum has a structure of themes within which projects offer the training required by the clusters of occupations the theme covers. There are four themes within the scheme. The themes have been chosen as evidence shows that skills these themes are associated with have relatively good outcomes when it comes to employment.
The first three themes aim to provide certification within levels 5 to 6 on NFQ. The fourth theme is exclusively for unemployed young people under the age of 25 years with the aim of moving this type of candidate into the employment market while furnishing them with foundation skills from where they can progress. Level 3 to 6 alignment or on NFQ are available in this theme. Certification in the fourth theme will encompass levels 3 to 6 or equivalent alignment to the NFQ.
Theme 1 Occupations
- Information Communications Technology
- Digital Media
- Distribution and Logistics
- Sales and Marketing.
- Health Care and Social Services
- Manufacturing Process Technicians
- Natural Resources Energy Conservation
- Food and Beverage Services and Food Processing.
Theme 2 Occupations
Theme 3 Occupations
Courses will commence in January and February 2013 across the country and it will be interesting to see if the project delivers the significant opportunities being touted by the government. Unemployment is 14.8% and 429,567 people are signing on to the live register, so the landscape remains challenging despite all of the training initiatives on offer.
Author: Denise Colebrooke