Dole recipients to be offered chance to learn how to milk cows
The Department of Social Protection has confirmed that anyone who earns additional income after completing a training course to milk cows, will be subject to means testing.
Today's Farmer's Journal reports that a pilot scheme, set to begin next month, would see people with no experience of farm work be trained for four weeks by Teagasc before being placed on dairy farms.
The paper says the initiative, supported by the Department of Social Protection, will begin in Waterford and Kilkenny and will be aimed at those out-of-work, those working part time and full-time farmers who need extra money.
Industry people have said that due to a shortage of skilled dairy farmer workers, the opportunity exists to earn €5,000 working part time on dairy farms. Dairy farming is under huge pressure at the moment to attract skilled workers as expansion in the sector continues.
However, while this part-time training course will commence in September, the Department said that all (or DSP customers) who obtain employment subsequent to any such training course will be subject to the same conditions as all other jobseekers.
The usual means tests rules and scheme conditions will apply, it confirmed.
Social welfare entitlements are dependent on the precise circumstances and/or means of the individual applicant, it said.
Jobseekers who participate in this part-time training course will retain their usual social welfare payment during the course, under the Part Time Education Option scheme rules.
The Department is currently contacting jobseekers in the region to invite them to learn more about this course and opportunities within the dairy sector.
If it is a success it has been reported that the scheme will be rolled out nationwide.