Figures from my colleague Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar show that participants in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) are twice as likely to be in full employment after six months than those who did not take part.
The figures are from a study published by Minister Varadkar which compared people who had stayed on the BTEWA scheme for the two year duration with non-participants.
In Galway over 600 people are currently participating in the programme which accounts for 8.9% of the live register in the county. Meanwhile, in Mayo over 380 people are participating in the programme which accounts for 9.3% of the live register in the county.
The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) is proving to be crucial in supporting entrepreneurs in Galway and Mayo. The Scheme enables a person to continue to receive State income supports for up to two years while also receiving advice, support and mentoring on setting up and running a new business.
Entrepreneurs are vital for local economies, our economic future and for job creation. This review has shown that the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance is highly effective in helping people make the move from welfare to work.
I welcome the recent changes to the Scheme which has reduced the qualification period from 12 months to just nine months for more people on welfare, not just for Jobseekers, but also reduced those on other schemes like One-Parent Family Payment, Jobseekers Transitional Payment, Disability Allowance, and Farm Assist, and other welfare payments.
Initiatives such as the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, among many others across the Departments of Social Protection and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, are helping to achieve the positive employment figures as published by the CSO last week. The figures from the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey, which specifically measures unemployment, shows that year-on-year the unemployment rate in the West has fallen by over one quarter from 10.6% at the end of 2015 to 7.9% at the end of 2016 which means there are 4,700 fewer persons unemployed in the West.
I strongly encourage people in Galway and Mayo to consider availing of the support which schemes such as the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance provide.