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Celebration and Recognition – Paul Mooney

by Ian Nugent on the 13/04/2021

Writer’s Bio: Hi, my name is Ian Nugent, I’m from Dublin and I captained my college Ultimate frisbee team for two years… we never played a match.

Unemployment is a looming issue in Ireland, with the Central Statistics Office showing that around 5.8% of people face unemployment and, during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, that figure has been noted at 25%. Unemployment can lead to tension and breakdowns for families, an increase in social isolation, poverty, and an erosion of one’s confidence in themselves, among other things.
Unemployment is an issue that a large number of people face at some point, even outside the current situation, be that young people trying to make a start in the job market, those that are struggling in-between jobs, people that have been laid off and seek new employment, or individuals who are forced to re-enter the job market to make ends meet, to name a few. For many people, this is a real struggle that puts them under a large amount of stress, and disappointment is rife as they search for work and receive no offers. Some may feel that they don’t have the skills necessary for employment, they might struggle in interviews, don’t know how to present themselves, or are unable to write a CV that gets the attention of potential employers.
Paul Mooney had seen first-hand the effect unemployment was having on people around him. Asking him about the matter he said “Lots of people I knew had become unemployed and were beginning to lose hope of finding work or were emigrating. Seeing how much unemployment there was among my own community and the impact of that (how demotivating it was), I could only imagine what it was like for people in the “black-spot” areas (as they were known then) where there was third-generation unemployment. I felt something needed to be done to address the problem.” (i)

In 1994, Paul co-founded Jobcare, a not-for-profit organisation that would be committed to working with those people who found themselves caught in the trap that is long-term unemployment. Their goal would be to equip these people with the skills, resources, and expertise that are necessary for them to find and keep themselves in meaningful employment.

To accomplish this monumental task, Paul and his team at Jobcare have developed a wide array of fantastic services over the years that seek to assist individuals with all the difficulties, obstacles, and hurdles that they may face on the path to secure employment, no matter their background or skill set. Paul believes that new solutions are constantly needed to tackle the issue of unemployment, saying “Unemployment is the problem we’re addressing, but how we address it needs to change on a regular basis, so we have had to innovate in response to the changes in society. Sometimes that looked like literacy classes, or English classes, or developing Trasna for ex-offenders, or developing Jobnet for unemployed professionals.” (ii)

Jobcare offers community employment to equip participants with the confidence, experience, and skills required to get back into the workforce, and through Jobcare’s Trasna work programme, community employment is provided to individuals who have criminal backgrounds or who have spent time in prison, giving them work experience and training that would hopefully help them achieve a positive future. Jobcare has recorded that 64% of participants in their community employment programme have progressed to work and, since 2008, 68% of those involved in the Trasna programme have found work. One of the work programme graduates said “Since I started in Jobcare until now I have had a roller coaster of a journey. I have learned and grown so much. I thank each and every one of you for teaching and inspiring me. I am now moving on to write my next chapter. I’m excited about the future while I continue to be excited about all the things Jobcare will continue to accomplish here with all the hard work of all the great staff who work here! It has been an absolute honour!” (iii)

The Jobseekers course is designed to provide participants with the necessary skills, confidence, and resources required to become a successful job-hunter. The course helps participants to identify their targeted & transferable skills as well as career values, develop their networking skills, maximise their CV and cover letter, and engages them in practice interviews, including one with a local business.
Another programme is Jobnet which is designed more specifically for unemployed professionals and graduates. This innovative programme implements many guest speakers & volunteer facilitators, as well as facilitating online sessions with various partner companies such as LinkedIn.

You may think that to set up and run such an organisation you would need a long-lasting career in business, probably have a number of college degrees under your belt, and have some amount of wealth. However, Paul Mooney did not fit this description when he co-founded Jobcare. Prior to this Paul had been working as a butcher for a number of years and had himself, become unemployed “Personally, I had had an accident in work that meant I couldn’t work for a period of time while I recovered. Having been someone who had worked since I was young, I really felt the impact of not being able to work. Then, at the same time, in the early ‘90s, unemployment generally was so high, and I was seeing how it was affecting people in the area I had grown up in.” (iv)

Instead Paul has learned many necessary skills over time )“I’ve certainly developed perseverance and resilience over the years, adaptability, determination, resourcefulness – all necessary strengths to maintain any organisation over 27 years. I’m sure there’s many more.” (v)
It is perhaps the experience of having been unemployed and seeing how unemployment has affected those around him, that inspired him to co-found Jobcare. Paul is not doing this for self-gratification, status, or wealth, but because he genuinely empathises with those who face unemployment as he been in their shoes, and from this, he truly does believe that working matters.

Paul isn’t the kind of person who believes they know it all and has built a team that has supported him and Jobcare as a whole over the years “I’ve always worked best in a team with people around me. I benefitted from having people with different skill sets around me. The most important thing is to never be afraid to bring others around you who are better than you in certain areas to develop different areas. You don’t need to do everything yourself. You can still influence and direct without doing it all.” (vi)

In the years since its founding, Paul Mooney has brought Jobcare’s work to the attention of many well-known large businesses, which now support the work of Jobcare as it facilitates Irish jobseekers to find meaningful work. Paul Mooney and Jobcare show that everyone has potential no matter their background or skills, and that there are always people ready and willing to help others get the step up they need.

“Unemployment not only affects the individual, but their family and community and the economy as well. So, having helped thousands of people since 1994 has definitely had an impact, not just on those individuals, but on their communities as well.” (vii) - Paul Mooney

Questions regarding Jobcare, Answered by Paul Mooney, Received 25/03/2021., Accessed 16/03/2021 , Accessed 28/03/2021 , Accessed 17/03/2021

i Questions regarding Jobcare, as answered by Paul Mooney, Received 25/03/2021.

ii Questions regarding Jobcare, as answered by Paul Mooney, Received 25/03/2021.

iii, as Accessed 16/03/2021

iv Questions regarding Jobcare, as answered by Paul Mooney, Received 25/03/2021.

v Questions regarding Jobcare, as answered by Paul Mooney, Received 25/03/2021.

vi Questions regarding Jobcare, as answered by Paul Mooney, Received 25/03/2021.

vii Questions regarding Jobcare, as answered by Paul Mooney, Received 25/03/2021.

1 comment

Martin Dillon

said on 14/04/2021 at 12:27

Well done Ian on an interesting topic of Unemployment and Pauls story which is relevant in society today. 'Everyone is potential', Great message.