Question No: 69 Ref No: 25386-15
Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the extent to which her Department continues to provide youth unemployment alleviation measures; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 24th June, 2015.
R E P L Y
Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection ( Kevin Humphreys T.D):
The Government’s primary strategy to tackle youth unemployment is through policies to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. However, the Government recognises that as the recovery takes hold, there is a need for additional measures to ensure that as many as possible of the jobs created are taken up by unemployed jobseekers and, in accordance with the EU Council recommendation for a Youth Guarantee by young jobseekers in particular. This is the rationale behind the Government’s Pathways to Work strategy and the Youth Guarantee plan.
As, under services such as Intreo, Youthreach, VTOS, PLC programmes, and JobBridge, Ireland already had many of the recommended component parts of a Youth Guarantee, the main plank in Ireland is to prioritise access to these existing supports for young people, who become unemployed, with the objective of ensuring that they have an opportunity for employment, further education or work experience within the recommended period of four months as per the EU council recommendation.
In this regard our first intervention is to provide case officer support to help newly unemployed young people find and secure sustainable jobs. Accordingly operating processes are being refined in each of our regions to prioritise the early engagement of young people through Intreo to ensure that all young people receive expert advice and have access to progression options. In addition as part of our commitment to engage with 100,000 long-term unemployed people through the Intreo/JobPath process during 2015 we are prioritising engagement with the c 25,000 young people who are already long term unemployed. In implementing these processes DSP is applying learning from the Ballymun Youth Guarantee Pilot Project and making extensive use of the services of Local Employment Services and Job Clubs.
For those who do not find employment through the process just described, additional offers are provided for. Most such offers (over 70%) are in existing further education or training programmes. Others are in existing community-based employment programmes such as CE, Gateway and Tús. Overall, over 23,300 opportunities were taken up on the relevant programmes in 2014.
In addition we have recently introduced new programmes specifically for young people including JobsPlus youth €“ an employment subsidy for unemployed people under 25 years of age which is payable after four months of unemployment, and First Steps €“ a work experience programme for very disadvantaged young people. There are a number of additional planned measures still to be implemented (International Work and Experience Training, County Enterprise Board Youth Entrepreneurship and Mentoring Supports). It should be noted that some of the initiatives planned under the Guarantee required primary legislation to allow positive discrimination on age grounds in the provision of employment services and supports.
Reflecting the impact of government policy, and the overall improvement in the labour market, youth unemployment continues to fall (with a rate of 20.2% in May 2015 estimated by CSO, as compared to 25.0% in May 2014 and with a peak of over 31% in 2012).