Thursday, 5 December 2019
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
National Youth Strategy
336. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the implementation of action No. 1.3 in the national youth strategy to identify ways in which arts, culture, sports and youth organisations can co-operate at a local level to enhance quality and developmental opportunities for young persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50725/19]
Since the publication of the National Youth Strategy, my Department has worked towards creating quality opportunities for young people which include culture, art and sports.
Local Creative Youth Partnerships are supported in three selected Education and Training Board areas through Hub na NÓg and a dedicated Participation Officer. These opportunities are supported by my Department and the Creative Ireland Programmes for Youth.
My Department also supports an initiative of the National Youth Council of Ireland, the Youth Arts Programme which is dedicated to the development and advancement of youth arts in Ireland. It aims specifically to realise the potential of young people through good quality arts practice in the youth service and to develop appropriate policies and activities at local, regional and national level.
My Department also engages with inter-departmental strategies and groups, such as the Sports Leadership Group, to support developments to increase children and young people’s participation in exercise and sport.
337. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the implementation of action No. 2.4 in the national youth strategy to strengthen co-operation between formal education and non-formal learning sectors to address early school leaving, including the use of flexible, youth-friendly approaches; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50726/19]
The Deputy may be aware that I have taken on board the findings of the Value for Money and Policy Review of Youth Programmes 2014. I have prioritised the design and implementation of an integrated funding scheme as recommended by this Review, and following significant consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, I intend to progress the implementation of this Targeted Youth Funding Scheme in 2020.
This reform will provide an ongoing opportunity to identify need and to focus funding on those young people most in need of intervention, including disadvantaged and vulnerable young people who may be at risk of early school leaving. The support might include linking with local partners and bodies to this end.
338. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the implementation of action No. 2.5 in the national youth strategy to develop a national system for the recognition of non-formal and informal learning in line with the EU Council recommendation in 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50727/19]
The recognition of learning outcomes, namely knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal and informal learning, can play an important role in enhancing employability and mobility.
In order to take steps in this direction, the National Youth Council Ireland was provided with funding to support the implementation of the Skills Summaryproject which provides a framework to better recognise the value and learning that young people gain by participating in youth work and volunteering.
Skills Summaryis both a process and a product. As a process, it aims to support the learning of young people, with a particular focus on those young people who find academic learning challenging, and to help them map this learning to a set of soft skill competences. As a product, Skills Summary will support young people to articulate the crucial competencies they have acquired both for themselves and for potential future employers.
It is proposed that Skills Summarywill gain national recognition by young people, youth organisations, volunteer involving organisations, employers and employer bodies.
339. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the implementation of action No. 5.5 in the national youth strategy to increase young persons' political engagement through the promotion of voter education programmes and other initiatives; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50728/19]
My Department engages in several democratic programmes to enable young people to be connected, respected and empowered to contribute to their world.
Nationally, Comhairle na nÓg (youth councils) give children and young people a voice in decision-making with regard to the development of local services and policies. They are recognised as the national structures for participation of children and young people in decision-making in all 31 local authorities. The Comhairle na nÓg Development Fund is overseen and administered by my Department.
The Youth Reform and Participation Unit within my Department, has responsibility for ensuring that children and young people have a voice in the design, delivery and monitoring of services and policies that affect their lives, at national and local level.
Internationally, my Department continues to engage with the EU Youth Dialogue, which is run by Young Voicesin Ireland. This is a youth participation programme aiming to bring the youth voice to EU policy-making. Its main strength is the dialogue between young people, youth organisations and policy makers, as well as experts, researchers and other relevant civil society stakeholders. It serves as a forum for continuous joint reflection and consultation on the priorities, implementation and follow-up of European cooperation in the field of youth.
In addition, the National Youth Council Ireland has actively promoted the participation of young people in the electoral process for many years, and has organised campaigns to encourage and support young people to register to vote in all elections and referenda.