Tuesday, 25 January 2022
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
417. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons under 25 years of age on the back to education allowance scheme in January 2020 and January 2021; the funding allocated to support young persons under 25 on the scheme in 2020 and 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2988/22]
The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) provides income support for jobseekers and others in receipt of certain social welfare payments who pursue courses of education at second or third level. The conditions under which the BTEA operate are designed to support customers into employment.
As of the year end 31stDecember 2020 there were 6,048 students supported under the BTEA scheme compared to 5,189 students at year end in 2021 with a total annual expenditure of €65.92m and €54.08m respectively. For January of each of these years, 6,795 students were in receipt of the weekly BTEA allowance payment in January 2020 compared to 6,060 students in 2021.
It is estimated that approximately 23% of the total students supported under BTEA were under the age of 25 for the year 2020 at an approximate cost of €15.16m in comparison to approximately 24% in 2021 at an approximate cost of €12.98m. The scheme is demand led and the funding for the scheme is not allocated on an age basis.
As part of the Government’s commitment under the Pathways to Work strategy it is providing up to €105.4m for BTEA in 2022. This represents a considerable investment in supporting all unemployed individuals, including those under the age of 25, to acquire the necessary education and skills to re-enter the labour market.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.