Thursday, 28 May 2015
Department of Social Protection
68. To ask the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide an update on the Youth Guarantee, including the pilot scheme, and delivery under the scheme to date, and the impact on youth unemployment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21223/15]
The Government’s primary strategy to tackle youth unemployment is through policies to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. However, the Government recognises that as the recovery takes hold, there is a need for additional measures to ensure that as many as possible of the jobs created are taken up by unemployed jobseekers, and by young jobseekers in particular. This is the rationale behind the Government’s Pathways to Work strategy and the Youth Guarantee.
The Youth Guarantee sets a medium-term objective of ensuring that young people receive an offer of employment, education or training within four months of becoming unemployed. The main plank of the guarantee is assistance to young people, who become unemployed, in finding and securing sustainable jobs. For those who do not find employment, additional offers are provided for. Most such offers (over 70%) are in further education or training. Others are in community-based employment programmes such as CE, Gateway and Tús, or through the JobsPlus employment subsidy for private employment. There are additional planned measures that have not yet been implemented (International Work and Experience Training, County Enterprise Board Youth Entrepreneurship and Mentoring Supports). Those under 18 are offered second chance education, e.g., through Youthreach.
Table 1 at the end of this reply shows places taken up in 2014 on the programmes for unemployed young people that were included in the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan.
Reflecting the impact of government policy, and the overall improvement in the labour market, youth unemployment continues to fall (with a rate of 21.1% in March 2015 estimated by Eurostat, as compared to 25.9% in March 2014 and with a peak of over 30% in 2012).
The purpose of the Ballymun Youth Guarantee (BYG) pilot project was to test key elements to inform the national roll-out of the Youth Guarantee. The project officially finished on the 31st December 2014. It will take time to see whether the opportunities taken up by young people through the BYG project have had a positive impact in terms of improved employment and other outcomes. The local Intreo office continues to work with participants (through the Ballymun Job Centre Guidance Counsellors) to progress them towards employment opportunities that continue to emerge as the economy recovers.
It is clear that the project has been highly successful in building the participants’ confidence and ability to move towards employment. From the perspective of both the participants and the staff involved in the delivery of the service, the BYG approach has contributed towards the development of career identities, improved self-esteem and human and social capital.
Table 1. Youth Guarantee uptake in 2014 (under 25 participants)
|Programme||Expected full-year intake||2014**||Note|
|Community Training Centres||1,500||1,778|
|JobBridge (including developmental internship)||5,000||3,138||First Steps developmental internship commenced in Q1 2015|
|JobsPlus (JobPlus Youth)||1,500||639||JobPlus Youth variant launched February 2015|
|Back to Education Allowance (excluding Momentum)||3,300||3545|
|Back to Work Enterprise Allowance||200||139|
|Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme||500||672|
|FAS/Solas||9,500||8,659||Specific Skills Training, Traineeship, Bridging & Local Training Initiative|
|County Enterprise Boards Youth Entrepreneurship Training and Mentoring supports||700||N/A|
|County Enterprise Boards/Microfinance Ireland - micro-loans for young people||150||10|
|International Work Experience and Training||250||N/A||Commencing quarter three 2015|
**Updated from previously supplied data on the basis of final 2014 figures
N/A Not Available