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Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection: The Employment and Youth Activation Charter


Organisation Type: Government Department
Location: Arás Mhic Dhiarmada, Store St, Dublin 1(Head Office)
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) services are provided through:
• Centralised offices at various locations countrywide (Buncrana, Carrick-on-Shannon, Dublin, Dundalk, Letterkenny, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo, and Waterford).
• The Department manages a network of 61 Intreo Centres.
• A range of service partners including Branch Office providers, Local Employment Services, Jobclubs, Jobpath providers, Community Employment and Tús providers and EmployAbility companies.

Mission Statement:
To promote active participation and inclusion in society through a framework of employment rights and the provision of income supports, employment services and other services.
No. of Employees: 6,107

CSR Initiative – The Employment and Youth Activation Charter

The Employment and Youth Activation Charterwas set by the Labour Market Council during a period of very high long-term and youth unemployment to encourage companies when recruiting to consider and support jobseekers who are on the Live Register. In addition to asking employers to consider Live Registrant jobseekers, companies are also actively encouraged as part of their CSR agenda to develop and participate in initiatives to support and increase the employability skills of jobseekers. Responsibility for the Charter was transferred to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in October 2014.

Signatory employers are asked to indicate from the measures listed below which are appropriate to the size and nature of their company, those that they will consider implementing under the Charter:
• Engage with your local Intreo Centre and Employer Relations team to access and recruit from this Talent pool.
• Provide employment skills training for unemployed people to help them become job ready.
• Engage in blended training – work placement opportunities.
• Facilitate a Job Sampling tour, including a tour of your business, a showcase of your company and an overview of the type of attributes that you look for in a candidate.
• Participate in your local Job Clubs by offering a motivational talk or insights on preparing for Jobsearch or starting your own business.
• Attend an Intreo Briefing, to maximise your understanding of the range of employer supports available to your company…..Or invite Intreo to come to you.

Project team:
The Employer Engagement Sub Group of the Labour Market Council and DEASP’s Employment and Youth Activation Charter Working Group.

Resources required:
Employers willing to sign up to the Charter, and willing to offer employment and/or employment-related opportunities to vulnerable and marginalised unemployed people to help them to access the labour market.

Ongoing support from Central and Divisional Employer Relations staff for:
• their input in promoting the initiative among employers;
• providing advice about supports and services to employers about services that may be of interest and
• assisting employers to participate in ways that work best for their company.

Administrative support is required for the upkeep of the two Charter databases – signatory database and activity database.

The launch of the Charter in 2014 was very high profile, with the then Tánaiste inviting some of the largest companies in the State to sign up. The backdrop was very high levels of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment which then stood at 25%. Youth unemployment statistics show that the current unemployment rate among 15 – 24 year olds is 12%. While it has decreased considerably over the past few years it is still running at more than double the national average – 12% compared to 5.4% and continues to challenge the Government’s economic policy.

To be successful, the Charter needs buy-in and meaningful opportunities to be offered by employers, take-up of the opportunities by young unemployed people and constant oversight and report by staff of the Department

The following issues represent the challenges facing the successful delivery of the Charter:
• A lot of activity takes place and subsequently there is a need for a consistent reporting regime to monitor overall activity and to facilitate ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the Charter.
• Keeping staff motivated to continue promoting it.

The Charter companies represent a broad range of companies by size, sector and location supporting vulnerable and marginalised groups to access the labour market. The Charter represents a strengthening of the relationship between Government and Industry to support Jobseekers and ultimately support Ireland’s economic growth.

A total of 628 companies have signed up to the Employment and Youth Activation Charter since its launch in late 2014 and 706 activities have been recorded for these companies. Most of the activities relate to recruitment – attending Job Fairs, delivering seminars at Job Fairs, DEASP hosting recruitment drives for Charter companies.

How was/is this initiative promoted?
The Charter has been promoted at Employer Briefings, Job and Career Fairs and by direct engagement with employers by Employer Relations Key Account Managers and Divisional Employer Relations Officers.

Do you report on CSR in the Annual Report?
The Employer and Youth Activation Charter statistics and activities are reported on a quarterly basis to the Pathways to Work Sub-committee. They are also documented in the DEASP Annual Reports.

CSR Dimension
‘Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020 identifies 4 core dimensions of CSR – Environment, Community, Workplace and Marketplace.

• Environment - minimising negative environmental impacts
• Community - interaction with your local community partners and organisations
• Workplace - supporting and engaging with your employees
• Marketplace - interaction with your local community partners and organisations.

The Workplace dimension in Ireland’s National Plan on CSR “Towards Responsible Business” focuses on quality, diversity, skills and employee engagement. Two actions which are closely aligned with the ethos of the EYAC are:
• To work to increase recognition among large businesses of the value of sustainable business practices and CSR in boosting employment, attracting and retaining talent as well as their impact on wide society and
• To encourage businesses to build their CSR capacity in the community.

Business Impact
How has the CSR initiative benefitted your business and demonstrated a win:win in the short-term and/or long-term?
The Charter has been a useful vehicle in assisting the development of meaningful relationships by the Department with some employers. With its dual focus on supporting the recruitment of suitable job-ready Live Registrant candidates for vacancies and leveraging the corporate social responsibility of companies to provide opportunities for job-seekers who are furthest removed from the labour market, it is a flexible enough initiative to respond to the changing labour market and Live Register profile.

Companies benefit as a designated divisional contact – an Account Manager, is assigned to each Charter company to provide advice about DEASP supports and services that may be of interest; and to assist the company to participate in the way that works best for that company. The Account Manager can assist by:
• Advertising company positions on the DEASP online job vacancy portal www.jobsireland.ie
• Promoting opportunities through the DEASP network of Intreo Centres
• Matching company requirements against the DEASP database to source suitable candidates
• Shortlisting/referring suitable candidates
• Hosting events for large-scale recruitment

Job seekers benefit from the co-operation between Charter companies and DEASP staff in the provision of CV workshops, interview role-plays, job-shadowing opportunities with HR managers. This activity can lead to increased confidence, networking opportunities and the development of skills necessary to gain employment.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative.
The Charter is included under SDG 8 and SDG 10 as it helps promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (SDG 8) and helps reduce inequality within and among countries (SDG 10).

What did you learn from your experience of creating and implementing a CSR initiative?
• The importance of buy-in from all the stakeholders. The commitment of all parties to the initiative is essential for it to succeed.
• Once the initiative is established it is very important that close communications are maintained with stakeholders in order to keep up the momentum.
• Not only large companies are interested in CSR. Initially the Department focused on attracting large size companies to sign up to the Charter. However, as time went on more and more micro-sized (1 – 9 employees) and small 10 – 50 employees) companies signed up and they now account for nearly three-quarters (72%) of the signatory companies and are involved in 44% of reported activities.
• If a Company is interested in entering the CSR arena, consideration of signing up to the Charter and acting on the commitments represents a smooth entry into that arena.
• Charter activities do not represent a one-size fits all as the opportunities are designed to be tailor-made to suit the organisation providing them

For more information on the Charter contact employercharter@welfare.ie

Download a copy of Case Study as a pdf.

Case Study provided by:
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
April 2019