Urges Government to step up pace of implementation of scheme to provide education, training or work experience to those unemployed for over 4 months
5,000 fewer places than promised
In a meeting with the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection today (04.11.15), the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) will call on Government to step up the pace and scale of implementation of the Youth Guarantee initiative. It will also restate the need for review and reform of the JobBridge scheme.
The Youth Guarantee, introduced in January 2014, committed Government to providing a good quality education, training or work experience place to jobseekers unemployed for four months or more. While the rate of youth unemployment has declined from over 31% in 2012 to a rate of 19.7% for October 2015, it is still over twice the pre-2007 rate.
Speaking in advance of the meeting Ian Power, President of the National Youth Council of Ireland said: “NYCI was among one of the first organisations to call for the introduction of a Youth Guarantee in 2011, and still strongly support the initiative. However, we are concerned that the Government is failing to live up to its commitments with regard to the provision of education, training and work experience places and the provision of job counselling to young jobseekers.
5,000 fewer places than promised – rate of progress disappointing
“According to the 2014 Youth Guarantee implementation plan, the Government was to provide 28,350 education, training and work experience places in 2014. Based on data provided by the Department of Social Protection, only 23,213 places where provided.* That’s 5,000 fewer than promised.
“Another key aspect of the Youth Guarantee is the commitment to invest time and resources in career guidance and counselling leading to the production of a personal progression plan for each young jobseeker. This was to ensure that the education, training and supports provided were appropriate and relevant to the needs and motivation of the young jobseekers taking into account job opportunities available. Again, based on information provided by the Department of Social Protection, we are disappointed that in the last year and a half only 9,000 young jobseekers** have had the benefit of a ‘Personal Progression Plan’. With over 40,000 signing on the live register and with 18,481 doing so for 12 months or more *** (long term unemployed) we are concerned at the low numbers of progression plans developed to date.
“While we always accepted that implementation of the Youth Guarantee would take time, we are disappointed with the rate of current progress. Government action does not match their promises. We are concerned that some may be of the view that a recovering economy on its own will solve this problem. While some young people will be able to get jobs without the Youth Guarantee, others will not be able to access employment without the qualifications and supports provided by the Guarantee. As more jobs become available it now makes more sense than ever to invest in the initiative ,and to give young people who otherwise would remain out of work the skills and qualifications to compete for jobs.
“The social and financial costs of unemployment are well known, in particular the impact of long periods of joblessness on individuals, their families, communities and our society as a whole. The scarring effects of long term youth unemployment are especially damaging. As we emerge from the crisis, as our economy recovers and more jobs come on stream; investment in the Youth Guarantee makes sense and should be prioritised. All the evidence demonstrates it is not only socially just, but also economically prudent to do so.
JobBridge – review and reform needed
The NYCI will also discuss the operation of the JobBridge scheme based on the findings of its report published in February 2015 “JobBridge: Stepping Stone or Dead End”. Mr Power will explain that the findings of the report were mixed. A majority of participants were satisfied following participation and many indicated JobBridge had facilitated them in acquiring work experience, helped them get active and provided contacts and networking opportunities. However, the research did identify a number of deficiencies such as poorly designed internships, inadequate mentoring, instances of unacceptable treatment of interns and a lack of clarity as to the rights of participants. Other issues which emerged included insufficient monitoring, some evidence of abuse of the ‘cooling-off period’ – leading to job displacement – and inadequate income support.
“We discussed the 10 recommendations arising from our study which we believe would improve both the quality and impact of JobBridge and would enhance the experience of interns, aid progression to employment and ensure public funds to support employment are being put to best use,” concluded Mr Power.
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.
Sources (Dail Debates: written answers)