When Paul Mooney established Jobcare in 1994 the unemployment rate in Ireland was 14.7%, and higher in some areas of inner city Dublin. Paul sought to bring a new type of response to the problem of how unemployment can hit at the heart of an individual.
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.
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.
I am convinced that the cycle of re-offending can be broken. I want to see many more individuals come through this programme and serve as a new model of hope to their communities.
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.
Learning a new trade