Lived Experiences of Welfare to Work

Public Employment Services and

Welfare Reform at the Frontline

Hosted by Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute and the Governing Activation in Ireland project

Welfare and employment services have been undergoing continuous reform since the last crisis. The next twelve months promises even further change, with the procurement of a new national employment service and multiple regional employment services to supplement Intreo’s activation service.

Focussing on those most affected by welfare reforms, this seminar brings together the latest research exploring claimants and jobseekers’ experiences of activation and employment services:

  • How do jobseekers experience welfare-to-work?
  • To what extend do participants find employment services helpful?
  • What changes would service-users like to see to the way employment services are delivered?

The event is organized as part of the Governing Activation in Ireland project and will launch a new research report on service-users’ experiences of employment services for the long-term unemployed


  • Dr Nuala Whelan, Department of Sociology, Maynooth University.


  • Dr Joe Whelan, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr Philip Finn, Department of Sociology, Maynooth University
  • Dr Michael McGann, Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute


  • Brid O’Brien, Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed
  • Dr Anne-Marie McGauran, National Economic and Social Council

Watch video of webinar

Dr Joe Whelan is an Assistance Professor in the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College, The University of Dublin. Joe’s main area of research interest focuses on exploring the nexus of work and welfare. He is particularly interested in exploring and understanding lived experiences in the context of welfare recipiency, focusing on the processes and effects of welfare conditionality. Joe’s upcoming monograph ‘Hidden Voices: Lived Experiences in the Irish Welfare Space’ will be published by Policy Press in May 2022

Philip Finn is Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Maynooth University. His research explores the lived experience and agency of welfare claimants and particularly the complex multi-layered navigation of welfare conditionality. He is a qualitative researcher with a particular interest in creative methodologies. His current research interest is in using Feminist Social Reproduction Theory to explore life-making of working-class communities including diverse intersecting forms of work and non-work activities in everyday life.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 841477.

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