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Community Employment – Supporting Jobseekers Supporting Communities!

In this fast moving world, years pass very quickly, any length of time out of the workforce may leave you feeling left behind. Confidence may be shaken, and skills may become rusty. One of the responses to overcome these barriers is the Community Employment (CE) Programme – otherwise known as the CE Scheme. This initiative began in 1994 and has assisted long-term unemployed jobseekers find a path back to the workplace. In addition, it provides an excellent support to the delivery of our community and voluntary services to the citizens of Waterford.

What is a CE scheme?
CE Schemes are designed to help people who are long-term unemployed (or otherwise disadvantaged) to get back to work by offering part-time and temporary job placements within local communities. From January 2022, you will receive a minimum weekly payment of €230.50 for 19.5 hours worked. After the placement, you are encouraged to look for permanent jobs elsewhere, based on the experience and new skills you have gained while on a Community Employment scheme.

How long do a Scheme last for?
CE placement generally last for one year. However, if you are working towards a major education award, your CE placement can be extended by up to 2 years to complete this award. You won’t get an extension beyond 3 years (or 4 years for people on a disability-linked social welfare payment). You will only be offered places within the Community and Voluntary Sector, that is, not for profit organisations.

Am I eligible for a CE Scheme?
In general, you must be unemployed and aged between 21 and 55 years and be getting any combination of the following payments for at least 12 months:
• Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB)
• Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA)
• Jobseeker’s Transitional payment
• One-Parent Family Payment (OFP)
• Deserted Wife’s Benefit
• Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension
• Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Non-Contributory Pension or
• Farm Assist

Other schemes that count towards the qualifying period are:

• Time spent on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)
• If you were getting basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) before getting one of the payments listed above, the time on SWA can also count towards the qualifying period for CE, provided there are no breaks between different payments
• If you were getting Carer’s Allowance (CA), the time spent on CA can also count towards the eligibility period, but your caring responsibilities must have ceased and you must currently be getting either JA, JB or OFP
• Time spent on a CE-qualifying disability-related payment can count towards the eligibility period, provided there is no break
• Time spent on a recognised training course such as SOLAS/ETB, a VTOS course, Youthreach or in prison may count as part of the qualifying period.
• People on the JobPath programme and the Tús scheme are eligible for CE

However, the following do not count towards the qualifying period for CE:
• Generally, time spent on Gateway, Rural Social Scheme, Springboard or getting Back to Education Allowance will not count towards the eligibility period. There are some exceptions to this, which can be found in the Community Employment procedures manual.
• Time spent as a qualified adult dependant on another person’s claim does not count towards CE eligibility

As previously stated, you can stay on CE for a maximum of 3 consecutive years. It may be possible to re-qualify for CE after a further 12 months on a qualifying payment. CE participants aged 60 years and over may stay continuously on CE up to the age at which they qualify for a State pension, providing there are places available.

They are other ways to qualify for CE, you may still be eligible for the scheme if you are aged 18 years and over and you are:
• Getting Disability Allowance, Blind Pension or Invalidity Pension, or
• Getting Illness Benefit for at least 6 months, or
• A member of the Traveller community, unemployed and getting Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance for any length of time or One-Parent Family Payment for at least 1 year, or
• A person with refugee status and getting any DSP payment for any length of time, or
• Referred following an appropriate assessment according to the National Drugs Rehabilitation Framework protocols, an ex-offender who has been referred by the Probation Service or other designated service, or an ex-offender not referred by a designated service who has been getting JA or JB for 12 months

Can you work while on a CE Scheme?
The simple answer is yes you can! Once you complete the 19.5 hours per week on your scheme you may work outside of these hours for additional payment. You are paid weekly and you have certain statutory employment rights including annual leave, public holidays, maternity leave and a written statement of your terms and conditions of employment. Tax may be deducted from your pay, if applicable, but your CE pay is exempt from the Universal Social Charge.

You are entitled to a maximum of 56 hours (7 full days) of medically certified sick leave in a 52 week period. In general, there is no payment for uncertified sick leave. However, in certain cases the DSP officer may allow, a maximum of 2 uncertified days (8 hours) in any 12 month period. CE participants pay PRSI at Class A8/A9, which counts as a full Class A contribution. If your CE payment is less than €352 a week, you do not pay any employee contribution. If your CE payment is over €352 a week, you pay an employee PRSI contribution.

If you need childcare
If you need childcare in order to become a CE participant, you may register for the National Childcare Scheme (NCS). The NCS is a new Scheme providing financial support to help parents to meet the costs of childcare.
Training and development

You will get training as part of your CE scheme to help improve your ability to get a job when the scheme is over. Everyone on a CE scheme must have an individual learning plan where training is identified. You must be allowed to join in any approved training that has been identified on your individual learner plan. There are a range of recognised QQI Awards and qualifications available to CE participants. If you are between 21 and 55 you must be working towards a QQI Award on the NFQ Framework of Qualifications or an industry equivalent, to be eligible for up to an additional 2 years on CE (maximum total of 3 consecutive years).

Getting other payments and CE
If you get a place on a CE scheme and your spouse or partner is claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA), Disability Allowance (DA) in their own right, they can claim an Increase for a Qualified Adult with their JA, DA. Your income from the CE scheme (as a single person) is then assessed as insurable employment against their payment.

Extra benefits of the CE scheme
You will keep your medical card when you are on CE. You will also keep your entitlement to the extra benefits you were getting immediately before going onto CE, provided you continue to satisfy the conditions for these benefits.

It is important to note, in order to avoid any possible overpayments, if there is any change in your circumstances, you should immediately inform your CE supervisor and the local DSP Community Development Officer responsible for your CE scheme. (Your CE supervisor will give you contact details for the local DSP Community Development Officer.)

If your spouses or partner also gets a place on the CE scheme
If you are on a CE scheme and your spouse or partner gets a place on a CE scheme, you will each get a single rate of the CE payment together with half of the Increases for a Qualified Child for any dependent children.

How to apply for the CE scheme?
If you would like to participate in a CE Scheme talk to your DSP Caseworker, or register your interest at the Waterford Intreo Office, Cork Road Waterford 051 356000 / 0818405060. There are a limited number of CE places available, check them out on Jobs Ireland Website www.jobsireland.ie and Waterford City Local Employment Service Website Jobs and Opportunities Page www.wcles.ie or their Facebook page.

The Work Placement Experience Programme (WPEP)

Attention Employers / Jobseekers:

The challenge to finding an experienced worker to join your company can prove difficult – Chicken and Egg comes to mind. They have the qualifications, interest and aptitude for the role but that line “experience required” can be a mountain to climb.

The Work Placement Experience Programme (WPEP) recently launched by the Irish Government seeks to address this issue.

It allows employers to give work experience to a jobseeker which will be mutually beneficial – employers get workers and jobseekers learn new skills and gain valuable work experience. Win! Win!

The programme is targeted at people aged between 18 and 65 years; who are on certain social welfare payments for at least 6 months. The objective is to provide training and work experience to support that a jobseeker into a new job.

Employers, if you want to provide an opportunity to a jobseeker to work in your company for 30 hours a week? – continue reading.

There is no cost to the employer; the participant will be paid by the Department of Social Protection during their placement.

The WPEP payment will be €306 per week. No top-up payments to the participant are permitted. The Programme is open to the private, public, civil service, community and voluntary sectors.

In order to become a WPEP host the employer must be:
• a business or a charity registered with the Revenue Commissioners
• tax compliant and provide an up to date Revenue Tax reference number and a Tax Clearance Access Number (TCAN)
• operating in the Republic of Ireland

Also, have a minimum of one full-time employee who is employed for 30 hours or more per week (that is, on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI).
To register as a WPEP host and advertise a vacancy please go to Jobs Ireland or email jobsireland@welfare.ie

Calling all Jobseekers, if you would like to re-train and gain experience in a new type of employment, this programme can help you build new skills and gain work experience.

You cannot take a placement where you already have built up experience in the role.

This is an excellent opportunity to get on the path of your ideal job. You can work part-time while you are on the programme, provided the part-time work does not impact your placement hours.

The part-time work cannot be with the WPEP host.

This pandemic has been devastating in so many areas of Irish life – but out of times of great change comes great opportunity. Adapt is the best way to survive.

It may have resulted in you having to go on a PUP Payment, and the loss of your old job. However, if you would like to get like training and work experience in a new work role, the WPEP may be an option for you.

Time spent on PUP may be counted as part of the 6 month qualifying criteria for WPEP, but you must transfer to one of the qualifying payments before you can take up a WPEP placement.

The qualifying payments are:
• Jobseeker’s Allowance
• Jobseeker’s Benefit
• Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment
• One-Parent Family Payment
• Disability Allowance
• Blind Pension
• Farm Assist
• Jobseeker’s Benefit for the Self-Employed

If you would like more information to check your eligibility contact your case officer in your local Intreo Centre. Follow the link: Waterford Intreo Service

Never Waste a Crisis

While many of us had every finger and toe crossed that Covid would magically disappear in the New Year, it managed to continue its impact through February. Hopefully the current level 5 restrictions will be coming to an end soon. It is difficult to stay motivated, but we’re here to help.

Here are five of our top tips for staying motivated!

Goals

It’s difficult at the best of times to be able to motivate yourself, but even more so when you don’t have a goal to motivate yourself towards. Get yourself a note book, a pen, and set aside 30 minutes for some YOU time. Write down three short term goals, three mid-term goals, and three long-term goals. It could be getting a new job, getting a promotion or learning new skills.

Remember, this is just for you so don’t be afraid to think big. No one else is going to see.

Routine

Setting yourself a simple routine is key, especially if you’re currently looking for a Job or working from home. Try to keep some appearance of your old work/life balance by sticking to a 9am – 5pm work day. Stop and restart the following morning!

Write out a morning routine and stick to it. Whether it’s a 10-minute walk before you get started for the day with a cup of coffee or for those brave souls, a cold shower. Whatever it is, make sure it starts your day on a positive note.

The same applies if you are job hunting. Set some time every day to check your Job.ie Job Alerts, work on your CV, apply for jobs and prepare for job interviews.

Yes it will happen!

Friends

While most of us are feeling very isolated at the moment, it can be easy to feel down and get into a slump throughout the day without your friends to chat to. Reach out and call them. They say laughter is the best medicine, and the best motivator, so call whoever it is that cheers you up and try to incorporate some human interaction into your daily routine.

Remember, having a happy friend is like finding a fiver in your pocket every day!

Remove Distractions

Without anyone looking over your shoulder, it’s easy to find yourself spending up to an hour on Facebook, Instagram, or down a YouTube rabbit hole. Whether it’s doing some work or writing your CV try to do hour-long sessions with your phone in another room. You’ll be shocked how much you get done.
Likewise with other distractions. Switch off the TV in the background, stick headphones on if you’re in a noisy environment etc. – remove as much distraction as possible for ultimate focus.

Whatever, you decide, make it realistic and you’ll increase your chances of sticking with it and staying motived.

Environment

We get it. You sleep there, you eat there, and now you job search / work there. You’re going a bit mad, we know. Now is the time to take charge and to make your home work for you and become a space you want to be in. Simple additions like a motivational calendar, a good chair or even a nice new notebook can be enough to lighten the mood.

Ready to start looking for your new job? Check out our Website www.wcles.ie we have loads of blogs, tips and suggestion how to write your CV, apply for Jobs and perform at Interviews.

The Tús Programme – Supporting your Return to Employment

Returning to work after a long period of time can be very daunting. This has given rise to the development of the Tús Programme to support a person back into employment.

For the past nine years Tús has been successfully managed by a dedicated team of six Supervisors employed by Waterford Area Partnership CLG in association with the Department of Social Protection. It offers quality work placements in the community and voluntary sector across Waterford City. The person is placed at the centre of the process and is given choice to apply for a placement that suits their needs.

It is a win – win for all concerned – the person gets valuable work experience and Waterford City’s community based programmes get support and resources to deliver their services to all. Experience of the programme has shown that it has a positive impact on people’s confidence and self-esteem. Generally speaking the participants find it difficult to leave their placement when the 12 months are up, and have on occasion returned as volunteers to their host organisations.

Who can take part?

The Department of Social Protection chooses who can take part in the Tús programme in this area. But, you can also apply through your case officer to take part. On request you will be given a Self-Referral Form which you complete and return to your case officer. The people that they choose have been out of work and getting a Jobseekers payment for a minimum of 12 months.

How does it work?

If you are chosen to take part in the Tús programme, you will:
• Have a quality work placement for 12 months
• Work 19.5 hours per week
• Get work experience that will help your chances of getting work
• Continue to get your social welfare payment
• Get a minimum payment of €225.50 per week
• Be free to work additional hours outside of the programme
• Get 81 hours annual leave over the 12 months
• Contribute your skills and experience to a community organisation
• Get ongoing support from the community organisation that you are working for
• Be signed off the live register and your social welfare payment and become an employee of Waterford Area Partnership on work placement
• Have ongoing support from your Tús Team Supervisor

What type of positions are available?

All of the work placements available are aimed to benefit both you and the local community. Some examples of the positions available on work experience include:
• Care assistants
• Childcare assistants
• Maintenance
• Security
• Sports coaching
• Caretaking
• Administration and clerical work

*Where necessary, Garda clearance will be required.

What is the process?

• If the Department of Social Protection chooses you to take part in Tús they will contact you and let you know. They will ask you to respond to the offer
• While the majority of people referred for Tús are selected on a random basis by the Department, places can be filled by self-referral by using the self-referral form from your case officer in the Department of Social Protection – Completed forms should be returned to your local Intreo office (Department of Social Protection)
• If you agree to take part DSP will send on your details
• When your details are received you will be contacted and asked to meet with one of the Tús Team Supervisors. They will talk to you about Tús, your previous work and education experience, and the types of work experience you are interested in
• They will look at the work experience positions that we have
• They will identify which of these match your skills, personal qualities and areas of work that you are interested in
• Invite you to meet with them and the community organisation which is offering the work experience
• If your skills and qualities are a good match with a placement in the community organisation then you may be offered the position
• If your skills and qualities are not a good match for a placement offered by a community organisation then they will continue to look for a more suitable placement for you
What happens when my 12 month work placement is completed?
Towards the end of your work experience we will invite you to meet with your Tús Supervisor to:
• Discuss and agree supports that are available to you to progress into further work or training
• Give you final feedback on how you have performed on your work experience
• Hear your views on the programme

When you have finished your work placement you will be referred back to the Department of Social Protection.

If you are a community based organisation – how can you get Tús Placements?

Any not-for-profit, community organisation operating in this area, who can offer suitable work experience can take part in Tús. The work experience position you offer should be of value to the local community and meaningful to the person who takes up the role. Tús are open to considering any role offered. Some examples of work placement positions currently on offer through Tús are:
• Care assistants
• Childcare assistants
• Maintenance
• Security
• Sports coaching
• Caretaking
• Administration and clerical

Your organisation can expect:
• To benefit from the skills and experience of the person who is placed with you
• To contribute to the personal and professional development of the person who is placed with you
• To develop and deliver your service with additional resources
• The Human Resource administration of the person on the work experience placement, including wages, annual leave, sick leave and time sheets will be done by the Tús Supervisor assigned to your organisation.

Tús ask all organisations taking part in Tús to:
• Work with them to choose a person who matches the skills and qualities that are needed for the role in your organisation
• Provide a quality work experience in a meaningful role within your organisation.
• Nominate a named person to give ongoing supervision and support to the person on work experience placement

How do community organisations apply?
If you are interested in providing a quality work placement to a person who has been chosen to take part in Tús, please contact them on the details below.

They will visit your organisation to tell you about Tús:
• Assess the suitability of the work experience role you are offering
• Help you to write a job description for the role
• Work with you to identify and choose a person that matches the role and your organisation

For general queries, contact: John Barrett, Waterford Area Partnership CLG, Westgate Retail Park, Tramore Road, Waterford.

The Times They Are a-Changin

Times have changed to say the least due to Covid-19 and lockdown…and with it comes the need to change the way we approach an interview.

Author: Pauline Travers

While companies are still interviewing, the way in which they are interviewing has had to adapt to our current situation. Companies are now interviewing over Zoom, Microsoft Team and Skype. These forms of interviewing have become more popular and allow companies to continue recruiting and moving their business requirements forward.

We in turn have to adapt to this new way of interviewing and doing business, but, it can be quite daunting as we are so used to interviewing face to face, making that all important handshake (is it to firm/too floppy!), keeping eye contact during an interview, smiling, sitting up straight…some of these key points that we take for granted and do naturally can be transferred over to an online interview.

There are numerous advantages to moving job interviews online:
• The need to meet face to face is removed.
• Online interviews are more readily organised and attended within a shorter space of time.
• There is less pressure on candidates to attend a location for interview.
• If you are currently working it is easier to take time off for an interview…no need to use the excuse that you’ve to bring your car for its NCT!
• For companies it is easier for them to screen candidates efficiently.

So, you’ve been invited for an online interview. What do you do next?

Download and ensure you are familiar with the app that will be used for the interview. Go online and become familiar with the app…how do you login, do you need an account?

If you aren’t familiar with the proposed app, do not wait until just before the scheduled interview time to download it. Each app has slight variations so make sure you are familiar with the particular one you will be using for the interview. You will be emailed a personal meeting link and access code. Keep it safe as you will need this to log into the interview.

There is no harm in practising an interview with a family member or friend and recording your rehearsal! Practice some of the regular interview questions, you know the ones…what motivates you, where do you see yourself in 5 years, tell us about yourself? But also practice some of the dreaded behavioural interview questions…What is the most difficult / challenging situation you’ve ever had to resolve in the workplace? Tell us about a time when you failed?

Lights, camera, action
Lighting is important…try sitting in front of a window with the screen propped up on books if necessary so you are eye level with the interviewer. No one wants to interview your armpit, chin or forehead!

Pick a good spot the day before, preferably without your communion photos or anything too distracting in the background. Even walk around with the camera on your phone/laptop on while you are looking into it so you can see what the backgrounds look like. Don’t wait until right before the interview to discover it looks like you are interviewing in the middle of a jungle because you’ve so many plants around you!

Remove any distractions
Silence anything that could interfere with the interview including your phone and email notifications on your computer. Make sure the neighbour’s kids that are playing out on the trampoline cannot be heard on the call, lock the door of the room you are interviewing in just in case! Close all programs on your computer or laptop…not only to avoid pop-ups or notifications but so that you avoid a slowdown of your operating system than could affect the app video and audio feed.

Check the audio and video is working before the interview and how to switch them on!

Sit up and dress professionally
It’s time to peel off the pyjamas and put on something more professional. Yeah we’ve all done the calls where we’re professionally dressed from the waist up and wearing shorts or leggings and slippers from the waist down! Make the effort to look the part.

Smile, smile, smile
Just like you would if you were doing the interview face to face. Yes we are all finding it hard at the moment and we might not have a lot to smile about but just for this hour paint on your biggest smile!

Stay calm
Run cold water over the inside of your wrists (and sure you might as well give your hands another wash as it has been 30 minutes since you last washed them!). The cold water can reduce cortisol levels, release endorphins and bring down your heart rate, all of which can help stop a panic attack in its evil little tracks.

Cheat, yes cheat!
I mean be prepared! Have your notes and cue cards ready…this is the one time you will be able to have them in an interview but don’t constantly refer to them or flip paper around in the interview. But have a few notes that you can glance at if you need to. If you carefully place it below the camera’s view you can occasionally reference it if you get lost or want to remind yourself of questions you wanted to ask the hiring manager.

Maintain eye contact
Just like in a face to face interview it is still important to look your interviewer in the eye. Look directly into the webcam, not at the interviewer on the screen and stay engaged. If you have to put a post-it beside the webcam to remind you to look into it!

Familiarise yourself with the mute button in case of emergency
Need to cough (hopefully it’s not a Covid cough), sneeze or your neighbour is shouting up your stairs to see if you have any sugar, then use the mute button but make sure to press it again to speak!

Don’t stress
Online meetings, interviews and chats are commonly used now so we all have some form of practice of using them at this stage. And if you don’t, then practice before the interview!

Take it seriously!
Whilst interviewing online can give you a sense of comfort, don’t get too comfortable. Sit up straight, maintain eye contact and continue to listen to what the interviewer is saying…don’t start looking out the window wondering what the courier is delivering to the neighbours!!

When it’s all over you don’t have to worry about how firm your handshake is or fumbling your way out of the seat and out the door! Don’t be surprised if online interviews become the new norm when things return to ‘normal’…whatever that is…post Coronavirus.

Enjoy it and Good Luck!

Staying Active and Healthy!

The COVID-19 Pandemic – How to stay physically active: advice for adults and older adults

Why is it important to keep active at this time?

Ensuring that we maintain our activity levels can help our physical health and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety that are common at this time of heightened uncertainty.

Socially distancing, self-isolation and changes to our daily routines pose challenges to us all. However, there are several things that everyone can do to ensure we protect our physical and mental health and remain physically active.

What can I do to stay active?

We already know that adults and older adults should aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes of activity per week. For example, a 30-minute walk on five days of the week or 22 minutes of activity every day. Here we have listed some ideas on how to incorporate physical activity in the context of our present restrictions. Try to find something that works best for you:

Indoor Activities

• Sit less, move more and more often.

• Break up long periods of sitting – try standing when watching TV, when making a call or when reading a book or newspaper; walk on the spot for the duration of the ad breaks.

• Put some music on and walk briskly around the home for 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times per day, or walk up and down the stairs more often.

• Get active whilst doing housework – vacuuming, brushing/mopping the floors, cleaning windows.

• Dance to your favourite music.

• Workout with an exercise video or online group.

• Try seated exercises such as air punches or marching legs.

• Use home equipment or household items as part of your exercise routine.

Outdoor Activities (remember social distancing!) Be sure to wash your hands before and after

• Go for a walk or light jog.

• Go for a cycle.

• Do gardening and household DIY.

Maintaining your strength & flexibility

• Workout along with an exercise video or online group, with or without equipment.

• Perform yoga, Pilates, gentle stretching or Tai Chi.

• Do exercises using your own body weight. You can do sit ups and push ups.

You can use household objects as resistance equipment

• Canned food can be used in place of dumbbell.

• Shopping bags filled with a few extra cans can increase weight progressively.

• Remember – start light and increase weights gradually in line with your current ability.

Don’t sit all day Minimise the amount of time that you are sitting or lying, and break up with light activity such as housework or gardening.

Remember: If you haven’t been physically active for a while – start slowly and at a light intensity and increase your activity levels in line with your current ability. If in doubt talk with a health professional.

If you are unwell or have COVID-19, please use your energy to get better and do not try to be active. If you develop fever, cough or shortness of breath, stop physical activity and contact your GP or health professional.

Below are several online resources to help you keep active at home during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Siel bleu http://www.sielbleu.ie/ – Daily exercise challenges and at home exercise classes targeted at older adults: Live on Facebook daily at 11am: https://twitter.com/SielBleuIreland

Age and Opportunity: https://ageandopportunity.ie/ – Regular exercise challenges and at home exercise classes targeted at older adults

Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) https://www.thebodycoach.com/ – Daily exercise challenges and at home exercise classes.

Combatting COVID-19.

The Irish government has announced further social restrictions in an effort to combat COVID-19. We are been asked to stay at home until the 12 April, 2020. To limit any non-essential travel to a 2km radius from our homes.

Waterford City Local Employment Service supporting Jobseekers for the past 21 years is still operating behind closed doors.

Give us a call on 051-304951 or email your inquires to info@wcles.ie.

We have an excellent website and Facebook Page – check out all the online information and resources.

Stay Home – Stay Safe. We’re in this together!

Employers…. Say Yes to YESS

Employers, as you are aware, there is a financial cost and risk associated to taking on new staff and I’m sure you’ll agree employers need all the help they can get.

If you are hiring, you may ask the question… Are there any supports available that will allow my company to give a young person a start – gain experience and hopefully prove themselves to be a great addition to my team?

The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) may be the answer!

What is YESS?

The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) is a work experience placement programme which is specifically targeted at young jobseekers aged 18-24 years of age who are long-term unemployed or who face barriers to employment.

The YESS will aim to provide jobseekers with the opportunity to learn basic work and social skills in a supportive environment while on a work placement. The scheme will provide a supportive structure for Participants, including case officer support for both Placement Hosts and jobseekers.

While participation on the YESS will be wholly voluntary for both parties involved, there will be certain qualifying and eligibility conditions that both placement hosts and jobseekers will have to satisfy.

All YESS placements will be advertised on the Jobs Ireland website, Jobsireland.ie and interested jobseekers will have to log onto same to view scheme vacancies.

Who is the YESS for?

The YESS will be available to jobseekers and other eligible cohorts who are aged between 18 and 24 and have been out of work and in receipt of a qualifying payment for at least 12 months, or if unemployed for less than 12 months, be considered by a case officer to face a significant barrier to work.

Note: Candidates must be in receipt of one of the following qualifying payments:

Jobseekers Allowance, Jobseekers Benefit, One Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker Transition Payment, Disability Allowance, Blind Person’s Pension or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

What will it involve?

The YESS is a programme specifically designed to provide workplace experience opportunities to young jobseekers while on a work placement. Participants on the YESS will be required to work 24 hours per week, and placements will be for 3 months initially, with an option to extend this further to 6 months.

A designated DEASP case officer will liaise with the jobseeker and Host Company throughout the period of the placement, to monitor how well it is progressing for both parties and provide appropriate advice/support. This will include a formal review meeting after 2 months, which will facilitate the case officer in deciding whether to approve a request for an extension of the duration to 6 months.

Clearly defined learning and development outcomes for each placement will also be identified. A Learning and Development Plan will be agreed between all parties at the outset of the placement and the case officer will monitor the progress of same. The placement host will nominate an individual to support and mentor the participant during the placement.

How much is paid?

All participants will receive a payment of €229.20 per week from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP). Participants whose underlying entitlement is in excess of that amount will continue to receive their weekly payment with an additional top-up allowance of €22.50 per week.

The YESS commenced Monday 1st October 2018, and is open to applications.

Where is the YESS available?

The YESS will is available to eligible jobseekers nationwide, but will be dependent on employers offering placements throughout the country.

Employers: The YESS will be open to organisations in the private, community and voluntary sectors only. There will be clear eligibility requirements for placement Hosts to participate on the scheme, and they must agree to Terms and Conditions when they advertise a placement.

All YESS placements must be advertised on the Department’s Jobs Ireland website, Jobsireland.ie and employers must register on this site to do so.

Am I eligible to host a placement?

The eligibility criteria for an employer to host a YESS placement include the following:

  • An organisation, or a local branch, must certify that they have a minimum of 1 full-time employee who is employed for 30 hours or more per week (i.e. on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI)
  • The Placement Host should be a legal entity and / or a charity recognised by the Revenue Commissioners (with a CHY number)
  • The scheme is open to sole traders who satisfy the conditions of the scheme
  • The placement host should be fully compliant with all legal requirements
  • The placement host’s Public/Employers Liability insurance and Motor insurance, if applicable, should cover any participants on the programme.
  • The placement host should be fully compliant with current workplace Health and Safety and all other legal and sectoral requirements
  • The placement must be in accordance with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission’s Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work

The Youth Employment Support Scheme is co-funded by the Irish Government, the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020

For further information on the scheme qualifying criteria, please click here The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) .

 

Body Language – Picking Up and Understanding Nonverbal Signals

Today we are going to look at Body Language – the art of non verbal communication.

What Is Body Language?

Put simply, body language is the unspoken element of communication that we use to reveal our true feelings and emotions. Our gestures, facial expressions and posture. When we are able to “read” these signs, we can use it to our advantage.

For example, it can help us to understand the complete message of what someone is trying to say to us, and to enhance our awareness of people’s reactions to what we say and do.

We can also use it to adjust our own body language so that we appear more positive, engaging and approachable.

How to Read Negative Body Language.

Being aware of negative body language in others can allow you to pick up on unspoken issues or bad feelings. So, in this section, we’ll highlight some negative nonverbal signals that you should look out for.

Difficult Conversations and Defensiveness

Difficult or tense conversations  are an uncomfortable fact of life at work. Perhaps you’ve had to deal with a difficult customer, or needed to talk to someone about his or her poor performance . Or maybe you’ve negotiated a major contract.

Ideally, these situations would be resolved calmly. But, often they are complicated by feelings of nervousness, stress, defensiveness, or even anger. And, though we may try to hide them, these emotions often show through in our body language.

For example, if someone is exhibiting one or more of the following behaviours, he will likely be disengaged, disinterested or unhappy:

  • Arms folded in front of the body
  • Minimal or tense facial expression
  • Body turned away from you
  • Eyes downcast, maintaining little contact

Being aware of these signs can help you to adjust what you say and how you say it, so you can make him feel more at ease and receptive to your viewpoint

  • Arms relaxed
  • Friendly facial expression
  • Good eye contact
  • Engaging posture

When you use positive body language, it can add strength  to the verbal messages or ideas that you want to convey, and help you to avoid sending mixed or confusing signals

How to Project Positive Body Language

In this section, we’ll describe some basic postures that you can adopt to project self-confidence and openness.

Making a Confident First Impression

These tips can help you to adjust your body language so that you make a great first impression:

  • Have an open posture. Be relaxed, but don’t slouch! Sit or stand upright and place your hands by your sides. Avoid standing with your hands on your hips, as this will make you appear larger, which can communicate aggression or a desire to dominate.
  • Use a firm handshake. But don’t get carried away! You don’t want it to become awkward or, worse, painful for the other person. If it does, you’ll likely come across as rude or aggressive.
  • Maintain good eye contact. Try to hold the other person’s gaze for a few seconds at a time. This will show her that you’re sincere and engaged. But, avoid turning it into a staring match!
  • Avoid touching your face. There’s a common perception that people who touch their faces while answering questions are being dishonest. While this isn’t always true, it’s best to avoid fiddling with your hair or touching your mouth or nose, particularly if your aim is to come across as trustworthy.

We previously published a blog on Soft skills – “it’s not what you say but how you say it that’s important” – Check it out!

The Great Reveal: How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

This question is generally asked at the opening of an interview – it can be a great asset to answer it correctly but it is one that you can get very wrong. It can also be framed, take me through your CV, outlining the areas of your work experience and competencies in relation to the role of…

This question strikes fear in people and they commonly say – “I don’t know what the employer is looking for” – You will know by reading the Job Advert and the Person Specification carefully – underline the key words: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare! If you prepare you’ll be surprised how easily you will sail through your answer.

Know The Buyer!

The employer has listed what they want in the Job Advertisement – it’s up to you to tell them that you have the required skills / attributes – use their words in your answer.

The best answer will begin by briefly telling the employer what they are looking for and then outline your main selling points that explains that you have what they require. When you focus on your relevant qualifications for the job you increase your chances of convincing the interviewer that you are ready for the challenge.

Why Interviewers Ask You the “Tell Me About Yourself” Question

From the interviewer’s perspective, this enquiry is one of the best for finding out if a candidate is suited to the role. It is worth remembering that the hiring manager wants to like you; it is in their interest to find the best candidates for their company. Recruitment is an expensive business and they want to get it right first time. The idea is to get you talking and to hear from you that you are the right person for the job.

How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself”

You can use the most frequently stated do’s and don’ts in job interviews to help you avoid ineffectively answering any interview question. The don’ts when answering this particular question can be summed up:

Don’t

  • Regurgitate your CV
  • Be too modest OR too arrogant
  • Include irrelevant information such as your favourite colour or wine
  • Discuss aspects of your career that have little or no relevance to the role or industry in question

You need to answer this question with laser-like precision, and it is a much simpler task than you think. The best answer to any common interview question is short and succinct. You may need to inject just enough personality to get the hiring manager to like you but resist the urge to ramble, brag, or hide in your shell. A great answer involves the following:

Do

  • Detail ‘Who’ You Are: Begin by outlining who you are professionally and throw in a couple of strengths
  • Provides an Overview of Your Skills: Your interviewer may not remember your CV, so remind them by highlighting a few key skills that make you a good fit for the job
  • Explain Why You Want the Job: If we’re cynical, the main reason to get a job is to pay your rent and not starve to death, but the interviewer already knows that! Instead, outline that you want a new challenge and believe that the company and the job offer’s it.

Things to Avoid When Answering “Tell Me About Yourself”

Perhaps the biggest mistake interviewees make when answering this question is to go off on a tangent. The result is an answer that is an incoherent and rambling mess. You know it is a common interview question, so there is no excuse for not creating a ‘scripted’ answer and sticking to it. Remember, it is usually one of the first questions asked, so there is little danger of repeating information already mentioned in the interview.

In any case, here are a few things you should avoid mentioning:

  • Religious or Political Affiliations: Avoid at all costs. You have no idea if the interviewer shares your views, so it is best to keep a lid on it
  • Personal Information: This means anything you wouldn’t ordinarily tell a stranger. It also relates to information about your family

Frequently Asked Interview Questions Related to ‘Tell Me About Yourself”

  • While the following questions are not necessarily the same as “Tell me about yourself,” they are all designed to gain a greater insight into ‘who’ you are personally and professionally.

 

  • “Describe Yourself”
  • “Why Would You Like to Work for Us?”
  • “What Makes You Unique?”
  • “Outline What You Do in Your Current Position.”
  • “Where Do You See Yourself In 5/10 Years?”
  • “What Motivates You?”
  • “What Are You Passionate About?”
  • “Why Should We Hire You?”
  • “Why Do You Want This Job?”
  • “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?”

In summary: Read the Job Advert / Person Specification; if you have what they are looking for or as near as possible begin by outlining what they want and proceed to tell them that you have the skills, experience, and drive to successfully do the Job.

Good Luck!