The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) – which represents organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide – has expressed its concern and disappointment over the lack of urgency and focus on youth unemployment in the Programme for Government. There is no reference to ‘youth employment’ or ‘youth unemployment’ in the 125 page text.
“At a time when we have 45.4% youth unemployment* and over 146,000 young people out of work this omission is hard to understand or justify,” commented James Doorley, NYCI Deputy Director.
“We call on the new Government to address this deficiency in the coming weeks and months and remain committed to working with them in the interests of young jobseekers.”
Stimulus package to support young jobseekers into education, training and employment
NYCI in its Programme for Government submission called on the incoming administration to undertake a rapid review of youth employment policy and measures. NYCI proposed that this review would inform a credible and costed stimulus package to support young jobseekers into education, training, apprenticeships and employment.
Youth employment plan in first 30 days of incoming Government
Mr Doorley explained: “We note that there are proposals in the Programme for Government to develop a National Economic Plan, and some vague references to supporting upskilling and reskilling, labour market activation and enhancing apprenticeships – but no concrete actions and measures. Moreover, the National Economic Plan is not due to be published for another four months, in October. That sort of response to a crisis in youth employment is far too leisurely. We need the incoming Government to develop a youth employment plan in the first 30 days to assist young people get back to work.”
Stark figures show extent of crisis
“The latest numbers available are stark. 96,023 **young people under 25 are currently in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), which is 20% of all of those receiving the payment. The latest data from the CSO indicates that youth unemployment is at 45.4%.
“It is also important to note that before the pandemic hit, despite job growth in the Irish economy and the welcome decline since the last crisis, youth unemployment in December 2019 stood at 12.6%.*** This was three times the overall unemployment rate. In addition to the young people on the pandemic unemployment payment, there are 29,579 young people under 25 on the Live Register and 20,413***** young people under 25 on the Disability Allowance,” added Mr Doorley.
Cannot afford to make the mistakes of the past
“As a society and an economy, we cannot afford to make the mistakes of the past, where young people were left to linger on the dole queues for years on end and the Governmental response was slow and inadequate. That is why NYCI is calling for a rapid review of existing youth employment measures. Government needs to examine if they are fit for purpose to deal with the current crisis, and modern labour market and to support young people in education, training, apprenticeships and ultimately good quality employment,” continued Mr Doorley.
“It is recognised that the new Government will have to borrow to fund a stimulus package in the next few years. While the current costs of borrowing money are low, these funds will have to be paid back overtime. Young people as taxpayers will end up paying back the highest proportion of this investment, so it is only fair and in the interests of intergenerational solidarity, that they should also benefit proportionately from these funds to restart the economy. It also makes social and economic sense to invest in measures to support young people back into work, because their participation and contribution in the labour market will further drive the recovery,” concluded Mr. Doorley.
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
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.
* CSO, Monthly Unemployment Report, June 2020
** CSO, Detailed COVID-19 Income Support and Live Register Tables
*** CSO, Monthly Unemployment Report, December 2019,
**** CSO Live Register Figures, June 2020
***** Parliamentary Question 1131, June 3rd 2020
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