Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Challenges to Ireland's Competitiveness: Discussion

Mr. Oliver Gilvarry:

I have not looked at the most recent numbers on the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP, and employment wage subsidy scheme, EWSS. There has been a significant increase in the number of people under the age of 25 years benefitting from EWSS. One thing concerning the council as we move out of the pandemic, is to not see people who were in receipt of a pandemic unemployment payment or whose employment was supported by EWSS moving into long-term unemployment as those schemes come to an end. In particular, it is a concern in respect of youth unemployment. That is why, in the competitive challenge report, we pushed for the Pathways to Work strategy. We welcomed the focus on younger workers and the different measures within that for them but we need to see those activation measures introduced quickly. As supports are rolled back, it is a question of whether people under the age of 25 who are no longer in receipt of PUP therefore move into long-term unemployment. As EWSS is reversed, it is a question of whether people are let go from employment.

I take on board the Senator's point on the apprenticeship places but we consider the apprenticeships, as Ms Kane outlined, as a pathway to work for people in order that they can have a career from this. Pathways to Work focuses on payments to employers who take on younger workers. They all have an important role to play in this regard. On the question of whether we can drive the youth unemployment levels lower than what they were pre-pandemic, introducing those measures quickly, particularly as certain support measures are reversed, gives us the best chance of achieving that.


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