Date: 5 October, 2016
Youth Council expresses astonishment at claims of ‘positive results’.
Two and a half years into the plan, over 16,000 young people on the live register for 12 months or more.
Victims of flawed EU Commission report will be young jobseekers who have been promised much and seen little delivered.
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) – which represents youth organisations with 1,400 staff and 40,000 volunteers who work with over 380,000 young people nationwide – has expressed its disappointment at an EU Commission report published yesterday evening (4.10.16) on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee across Europe and in Ireland.
The EU Youth Guarantee – agreed during the Irish EU Presidency in 2013 – guarantees young jobseekers a good quality education, training or work experience opportunity within 4 months of becoming unemployed.
Astonished at claim of ‘positive results’
James Doorley, deputy director at the NYCI said: “I’m astonished that the EU Commission was able to reach a conclusion in the report that ‘positive results’ can be observed in Ireland (among other EU member states) arising from the implementation of the EU Youth Guarantee. There is no basis or evidence provided in the report to back up this assertion.”
Relabelled existing programmes
“Two and a half years into the plan we have over 16,000 young people on the live register for 12 months or more. The reality at national level is that the Irish Government has largely relabelled existing programmes and measures which pre-dated the scheme as measures under the Youth Guarantee. Many of the other measures which they cite as examples of policy progress made under the Guarantee such as the expansion of apprenticeships, the profiling of jobseekers and the National Skills Strategy are actions which, while welcome, are focused on jobseekers of all ages and are the result of other policy initiatives and not the result of the youth guarantee programme. We have supported and acknowledged the introduction of Jobplus Youth which is a positive initiative introduced under the Youth Guarantee plan, but it is one of the few changes arising from the initiative in Ireland,” continued Mr Doorley.
“The EU Youth Guarantee was agreed during the Irish Presidency in 2013, and promised young jobseekers the guarantee of a good quality education, training and work experience opportunity within 4 months of becoming unemployed. In early 2014, the Irish Government produced a national implementation plan and hopes were high that given the significant levels of youth unemployment that the actions in the plan would be prioritised and resourced. The plan was underpinned by significant EU funding of up to €136m.
“As NYCI has pointed out since 2014, the implementation plan has been more honoured in the breach than in the observance. While we welcome the fact that youth unemployment has declined to 16%, it is still too high and the reality is that the level of support and places provided to young jobseekers has changed little since the introduction of the youth guarantee,”* added Mr Doorley.
Flaws and deficiencies
We had hoped that the EU report would identify flaws and deficiencies such as;
“Obviously one of the objectives of the Youth Guarantee was to reduce the very high levels of youth unemployment arising from the recent economic crisis in Europe. However, a secondary objective was to embed a new and more sophisticated approach to youth unemployment which would better prepare Member States for future economic shocks and to prevent a huge spike in youth joblessness in the future. Many of the measures successfully trialled in the 12 month Ballymun Pilot have not been introduced or further developed, in particular the intensive supports that some young people need, the partnership working at local and national level and the engagement with local youth services and employers. While the report notes that more needs to be done to promote partnership between the various stakeholders and support NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training), overall these issues get scant and superficial attention,” added Mr Doorley.
“As one of the first organisations in Ireland to call for a Youth Guarantee, NYCI continues to strongly support the concept and principles underpinning the initiative. It not only offers a solution to youth unemployment in the short term but can deliver policy change which will help to prevent the massive increases in youth unemployment from future economic shocks. The EU is to be commended for leading the development of the Youth Guarantee and for the investment of €6bn over the last number of years. However, based on our scrutiny of the implementation of the initiative in Ireland to date, their report and analysis leaves a lot to be desired. We are particularly disappointed that they did not engage with NYCI and other stakeholders prior to publication. In light of the investment of over €6bn in the Youth Guarantee Programme, and the need to ensure this funding is well spent and lessons learned and disseminated, we would have expected more from the EU Commission report. The real losers arising from this flawed report will be the young jobseekers in Ireland who need a Youth Guarantee that delivers in reality and not just on paper.”
For further information, please contact Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI on 01 425 5955 or 087 781 4903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
National Youth Council of Ireland
The National Youth Council of Ireland is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.
EU Report: Read the full communication from the European Commission.
* CSO statistical release, 04 October 2016, Monthly Unemployment, September 2016
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