State should invest €22m to halve youth unemployment, NYCI says

Pre-budget submission says supports should include training and apprenticeships

There are 8,915 young people in long-term unemployment. Photograph: iStock

There are 8,915 young people in long-term unemployment. Photograph: iStock

 

The Government should invest €22 million in education, training and access to apprenticeships in an effort to halve long-term youth unemployment by the end of 2019, the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) said in its pre-budget submission.

Young people from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds with limited formal qualifications should have greater access to apprenticeships, while schemes should be developed across the country to “provide supports and address barriers”, the organisation said.

While €22 million is the gross cost, the estimated net cost to the State would be €6 million, according to James Doorley, deputy director of the NYCI. “This investment would lead to reduced social welfare payments as more young people move into employment. For example, if there were 2,650 fewer young people on €107.70, the lowest rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance, this would save just over €14 million per annum,” he said.

The organisation, which represents young people, further suggested that €2 million should be invested in an access to apprenticeship programme.

In order to halve the figure of 8,915 young people in long-term unemployment, the NYCI proposed an additional 2,650 education and training places costing €20 million to assist young people with fewer opportunities.

“Census 2016 indicates that our population aged 10-24 years will increase to over one million by 2025, so we need to invest in policies, services and supports to meet the needs of young people today, while preparing for demographic pressures in the coming years,” Mr Doorley said.

In its pre-budget submission, the NYCI also proposed a €40.5 million investment to restore the full adult rate of €198 to young people on Jobseeker’s Allowance over the next two budgets.

It also called for an €11.5 million investment in voluntary youth work organisations and a service to ensure the provision of more supports and services for young people.