Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea has expressed concern about the findings of an ESRI Report evaluating the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA).
Commenting on the matter Deputy O’Dea stated “the report’s findings are disheartening given the level of expenditure on this scheme. It raises serious questions about the Government’s approach to tackling unemployment. The fact that jobseekers who commenced an education course supported by the BTEA programme in September/October 2008 were between 23 and 38 percentage points less likely to have exited unemployment to a job by June 2012, and between 14 and 29 percentage points less likely at the same time in 2014 is a matter of serious concern. Questions have to be asked of the Government about the effectiveness of this scheme and the quality and relevance of courses on offer.
“This report comes on top of a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers on youth unemployment in Ireland. This too, does not make for pleasant reading. Ireland ranked 29th out of 34 countries for their youth unemployment rates and performance in vocational training for young people. In 2006 Ireland was ranked 7th. The PWC report is based on 2014 figures but there appears to be little change in relation to youth unemployment. The latest statistics from the CSO show that 19.7% of 15-25 year olds are without a job. Talk of a recovery rings very hollow when you see such sobering statistics.
“The findings of these two reports are evidence that despite all of its talk and hype, the Government has failed to tackle the issue of youth unemployment in any comprehensive and tangible manner. It is evident that a recovery is still not being felt by a large number of people and no amount of spin from the Government can take away from the fact that there is still very serious issues in relation to youth unemployment in this country.”