New Report Reveals Extent Of Barriers To Employment For Marginalised People In Ireland 

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STUDY MAKES 10 KEY RECOMMENDATIONS TO ENSURE THEY ARE NOT LEFT FURTHER BEHIND IN RECOVERY FROM COVID-19 

The Open Doors Initiative have commissioned a report and the findings offer a warning that marginalised people are still being left behind in terms of employment. The Initiative says the report is further evidence of the need for extra supports to be put in place to help these people. The report offers ten key recommendations to ensure all benefit from post COVID-19 economic recovery. 

The new report entitled ‘Supporting People from Marginalised Communities into Employment’ was launched earlier today. Written by Professor Thomas M. Cooney, the report examines the barriers to employment across three groups in Irish society. The groups addressed are: (1) Refugee, asylum seekers and migrants; (2) Young people from marginalised backgrounds; and (3) People with disabilities. 

The report highlights the multitude of organisations that are currently operating in the employment support space; the complexity of the welfare support system, the diverse array of overlapping programmes available to support labour market activation and the lack of coherent national strategies that could offer structure and clarity.  

Commenting on the launch of the report, Chair of The Open Doors Initiative, Oliver Loomes said: “An open mindset regarding employment is needed now more than ever, particularly given the employee restrictions that COVID-19 has generated. The business community are willing to play our part, but we need further Government support to help create better and more diverse workforces. The Open Doors Initiative is working as a conduit to achieve greater levels of employability for marginalised groups. 

“We intend to engage further with industry, government and NGOs to promote an employment ethos of greater diversity and enable more people to secure a pathway to work. This is a major collaborative undertaking to ensure that no one gets left behind. We encourage other businesses to get involved as well” continued Mr. Loomes.  

There is growing evidence from many economic commentators that marginalised communities will suffer disproportionally higher rates of unemployment in the months ahead, which are exacerbated by barriers they already face. They are also the groups most impacted by Covid so a concentrated and coordinated approach to helping them is absolutely necessary. The report lays out how the employment support sector can best assist people from marginalised communities back into employment during these challenging times. 

Author of the report, Professor Cooney said: “Both providers and recipients of the support measures struggle to fully comprehend the most suitable pathway to employment that might be available to marginalised groups and so the effectiveness and efficiencies of the supports are diluted”. 

As well as outlining the barriers to employment, which are specific to each of the three groups addressed in the report, it identifies several recommendations and supports, which could help these groups into work in a coordinated and targeted way.  

The report offers nine recommendations:  

  • Build dedicated online hubs; 
  • Design and implement national strategies;  
  • Promote entrepreneurship;  
  • Secure ring-fenced funding;  
  • Increase government percentage of diverse hiring;  
  • Create a dedicated recruitment portal for employers/employees;  
  • Establish a largescale mentoring programme;  
  • Undertake a skills audit of people in Direct Provision and with disabilities;  
  • Maximise access to hardware, WIFI and training in Digital Skills.  

However, identifying and co-ordinating these activities remains a critical issue. “By implementing these recommendations, Ireland can offer people of all backgrounds equal opportunity to maximise their economic and social potential, but without the existence of a clear and coherent national umbrella strategy, it makes the task of coordination and a focused approach, much more difficult”, said Professor Cooney.  

The report concludes that implementing these recommendations to support people from marginalised communities into employment requires the participation of a wide range of stakeholders who will have their own set of organisational goals. 

The recommendations presented seek to harmonise and put a greater focus on the many government and non-governmental initiatives that are taking place across the country. These recommendations are also designed to maximise the effectiveness and efficiencies of existing supports while maintaining the principle of being person-centred as the first priority.  

The collective ambition is to reduce the rates of unemployment for each of the target communities, but only through working together can such an ambition be truly achieved. 

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