Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection

Youth Guarantee: Discussion

2:30 pm

Mr. Joe O'Connor:

I brought it up, as the argument is between prevention and cure. The cure is to target people who are long-term unemployed and need this the most. That makes absolute sense. At the same time, prevention would amount to allowing people who have been the recipients of much investment - that is, highly skilled graduates - to leave the country because there is a lack of opportunities. I argue that we should not do so. For society, the right way to invest the money in the first instance is to target those who need it most. For the economy, there would be massive long-term damage if we did not allow for the people in whom we have invested much and who have much to offer in helping the country to recover. If the youth guarantee is not going to be the solution for those people, we must formulate an alternative.

On the youth entrepreneurship issue, there is the idea that it should be across all disciplines and course curriculums, but we must also move towards a position in which students across departments work together as part of a project team. Therefore, somebody in the school of business who is extremely competent at developing a business plan should work with the student in science, engineering or the arts. We do not do enough of that in Irish third level education.

I mentioned the job-ready graduate scheme earlier. The Union of Students in Ireland is looking to work with a number of different groups with which we already have relationships, including Enterprise Ireland, Hays Recruitment and Cara Communications to deliver workshops and seminars on public speaking and communication skills, employability and aptitudes, CV development, interview skills and entrepreneurship. By the end of a student's time in college, one should be able to say that he or she has come away with academic qualification and displayed a competency and motivation to work in other areas.