When Paul Mooney established Jobcare in 1994 the unemployment rate in Ireland was 14.7%, and higher in some areas of inner city Dublin.
At a time of significant third-generation unemployment, Jobcare was established in response to the crises of long-term unemployed in Dublin’s inner city. Individuals faced barriers in access to and retention of work due to issues such as addiction, previous criminal history, low education, literacy issues, mental illness, single parenthood, and a lack of previous employment.
Through skills development, work experience, on-the-job training and practical support within a caring and encouraging environment the Jobcare team has assisted many people towards not only meaningful employment but also towards changing how they and their communities see themselves.
Jobcare’s flagship Community Employment programme gives participants the skills needed to get back into the workforce and break the cycle of being unemployed.
In 2012 Jobcare provided job-related training for over 750 long-term unemployed people. Of these, 62% progressed into employment or into further education and training. It has now been in operation for twenty years, and has also developed successful subsidiary programmes.
During the years of economic growth in Ireland Paul perceived that one group was being left behind. Ex-offenders were finding little opportunity to re-establish themselves within society. So Paul extended Jobcare’s services to ex-offenders and those preparing to leave prison. Recidivism is a serious problem in Ireland, and studies show that meaningful employment after release from prison can significantly reduce the odds of an individual re-offending.
Trasna, a programme of individualized coaching, training and education, along with paid work, provides an opportunity for participants to forge a new path for themselves and their families within their communities. Looking at the participants who have already gone through the programme, Trasna has not only made significant savings for the State in terms of prison costs, it has also cut the re-offending rate for this group of individuals down to less than 10% when the national average is 50%. At a personal level, the lives of these men and women have been transformed and hopes and dreams are becoming a reality - many are now in paid employment, enrolled on college courses, and involved in youth or community work.
In 2011, Jobcare developed the “Jobnet” programme to address the needs of a new kind of jobseeker in the Irish jobs market – professionally skilled individuals who, because of the current economic climate, are finding it difficult to find work, yet have much to offer a potential employer. Jobnet offers a professional environment tailored to the specific needs of this group. The programme empowers jobseekers to market their skills and learn to network effectively to find employment.
The change I would like to see in Ireland is dealing with burnout/depression and suicide prevention, intervention and post vention from a work environment. I would like to see attitudes from management and staff change about the issue.