Steps 2 Success programme must be measurable
Sinn Féin MLA Bronwyn McGahan while welcoming the statement from the Minister Stephen Farry on the new Steps 2 Success programme has said that the outcomes need to be better than the previous Steps to Work scheme.
Ms. McGahan stated,
“The new programme is designed to get young people who have been on benefits for over nine months the chance to experience employment and attain training that would allow them to return to full time employment.
“The previous programme Steps to Work while providing the basic principles of putting people into companies to experience employment did not provide the long term outcomes that were expected.
“The Steps to Work programme saw over 36,000 people pass through it over a four year period but over 22,000 went straight back onto benefits.
“It is important that the new Steps 2 Success programme learns the lessons and is more training and qualification focused than the previous programme.
“I have known of people who have been taken on by companies with no prospect of full time employment and received no training that would benefit them to gain meaningful employment elsewhere.
“This programme needs to be gauged by the number of people who are able to return to full time employment and I will be asking the Minister to have an evaluation process put into place so that employers do not exploit the scheme for basic cheap labour and that it is not used to massage unemployment figures.”