Thursday, 13 December 2018
Department of Education and Skills
Early School Leavers
80. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the supports available for school leavers under 18 years of age still living at home and dependent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52622/18]
There are significant supports in place within the school system to support retention of students to the end of post-primary. These include the package of measures delivered through DEIS and the various elements of the School Completion programme, managed by Tusla. These measures have made a significant contribution to the steady and significant improvement in school retention rates over the last number of years.
The most significant intervention for early school leavers delivered by the education and training sector is that the Youthreach programme is available for early school leavers. Youthreach provides up to two years integrated education, training and work experience for unemployed early school leavers without qualifications or vocational training who are between 15 and 20 years of age. It includes a considerable amount of personal development and exploration, where participants needs, interests and capacities are fully taken into account. There is a strong emphasis on personal development, on the core skills or literacy/numeracy, communications and IT, along with a choice of vocational options and a work experience programme. The programme offers participants the opportunity to identify and pursue viable options within adult life, and provides them with opportunities to acquire certification. Youthreach includes a work experience element to prepare participants for progression on to further study, further training or working life.
Youthreach participants can receive an allowance of €40 for attending the programme, based on their age. There is also a small meals allowance and, where applicable, a travel allowance.
The treatment of child dependents who are not attending school for the purposes of social welfare payments is a matter for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.