The Government is aiming to get 75,000 long-term unemployed people back to work within two years as part of its Pathways to Work Strategy.

The strategy is designed to drive employment as Ireland recovers from Covid-19.

The plan, launched today, seeks to cut the current youth unemployment rate of 44% to 12.5% by 2023.

Measures to support young people include the provision of 50,000 further education and training places, the delivery of 10,000 apprenticeships and the ring-fencing of 1,000 places on Community Employment and Tús programmes.

The work strategy will also offer employers a subsidy of between €7,500 and €10,000 if they take a person under the age of 30 off the Live Register.

The Work Placement Experience Programme will provide 10,000 paid work placements, 4,000 of which will be reserved for young people.

Participants on the scheme will be paid €306 per week with additional amounts payable in respect of dependent adults and children.

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The Government will facilitate 150 job promotion events a year, in order to significantly enhance the capacity of the Public Employment Service, Intreo, and assign a dedicated case officer to all unemployed people to help them back to work.

A grant of €1,000 will be made available to self-employed people to part take in training courses to learn new skills.

Welfare reform plans will draw on the experience of the pandemic and develop proposals for a basic income guarantee and a new pay-related short-duration jobseeker payment.

The Government will also extend targeted employment supports offered to groups facing challenges entering the workforce such as people with disabilities, lone parents and minority groups, including travellers.

Remote working options will be afforded to participants of work placement, education and training schemes.

The strategy contains 83 commitments across all Government departments.

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The plan was launched today in Dundalk, Co Louth, by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris, and Minister of State with responsibility for Business and Employment Damien English.

Alongside the Pathways to Work strategy, the Government also launched a new Work Placement Experience Programme.

This programme will benefit 10,000 jobseekers of all ages, who have been unemployed for more than six months. This includes time that they have been in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

This initiative is designed to help jobseekers get quality work experience to increase their prospects of returning to employment.

Participation will be entirely voluntary and the payment rate for participants on this programme is set at €306 per week.

The total cost of this programme over two years is €95m, with a contribution of €27m from the National Training Fund.

This programme is also included as a priority for funding under the National Resilience and Recovery Plan submitted to the EU Commission.

Speaking at the launch, the Taoiseach said: "Last month, Government launched our Economic Recovery Plan. This plan charts Ireland's long-term, jobs-led recovery with a focus on building back better.

"The overall ambition of the Plan is to exceed pre-crisis employment levels by reaching 2.5m people in work by 2024. Crucially, though, these jobs will be more productive, more resilient and more secure.

"A critical step in delivering upon this ambition and overcoming the shock to our labour market is the implementation of our new national employment services strategy: Pathways to Work, 2021-2025.

"Therefore, Government is committed to delivering on the ambitions and commitments set out in the strategy in order to drive a jobs-led economic recovery, to build back better, and to build back fairer."

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Minister Humphreys said every applicant will be assigned a case officer, who will carry out regular checks to make sure the participant is getting the right training.

She said there will be monthly contact between the case officer and the applicant to discuss their progress and if they are not happy, they can come off the scheme.

Ms Humphreys said that strategies such as this one "help you get your foot in the door, you get the on-the-job experience, you develop your skills and it gives you the confidence to find employment".

Sinn Féin issued a statement insisting that the strategy must be "people-focused and detail-driven".

Its spokesperson for social protection, Claire Kerrane, said: "It is positive that the Minister has announced intentions to provide jobs, placements and schemes for people seeking work, but we are still seeing a 'jobs first' approach rather than the people-focused services that we know work.

"Detail matters for ensuring any strategy supports sustainable employment, and it would appear the devil is really in the detail for this Government.

"Ensuring people can find good and meaningful employment requires a joined-up approach to the services and supports from both an employment and social welfare perspective."

Employers group Ibec welcomed the announcement of the strategy.

"Today's announcement is recognition that the foundation of economic recovery will be underpinned by investing in people, skills and talent," said Ibec Head of Social Policy, Dr. Kara McGann.

"Business particularly welcomes the strategy’s focus on addressing youth unemployment, given the potential long-term scarring effects of the pandemic on this crucial cohort of the labour market, who have been disproportionately impacted by Covid."