Fianna Fáil has today published a National Strategy on Youth Unemployment, setting out a range of ambitious policies aimed specifically at providing work opportunities for young people.
The strategy includes proposals to:
-Train 100,000 young job seekers with ICT skills over the next four years to address the immediate skills shortage in the technology sector;
-Establish a programme providing 1,000 internships in the IFSC;
-Strengthen and expand JobBridge to add 5,000 more places for graduates under 25;
-Dramatically reform education, welfare and employment services introducing education and training vouchers on a pilot basis.
Launching the strategy, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin commented, “The unemployment crisis has undoubtedly hit the younger generation the hardest. Almost 1 in 3 young people are now unemployed and the extent of the problem is being masked by the numbers emigrating for work and choosing to stay in further education. We urgently need an ambitious action plan to deal with this crisis. Ireland can and must avoid going the same way as Spain and Greece where youth unemployment has hit almost 50% of young people and is hindering growth.”
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Willie O’Dea said, “The Government’s various jobs plans have all failed to address the specific issue of youth unemployment. With almost 30% of young people unemployed at present, double the national standard rate, the Government’s proposal to add an additional 1,000 places to JobBridge completely underestimates the scale of the problem and does nothing to address it. Politicians from all parties in this country have a responsibility to show the young people of Ireland that we are working hard to bring forward ideas on job creation and that we will not allow this generation to be drawn into a cycle of emigration and long term unemployment.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Charlie McConalogue commented, “We are bringing forward a range of sector specific initiatives to provide our young people with the best possible chance of starting career at home in Ireland, and ensuring the younger generation has the skills needed to attract and benefit from foreign investment in Ireland into the future. Our proposals are realistic and affordable. We estimate that this plan will require an initial investment of €52 million, but the cost of not taking any action is far greater. Apart from the huge social cost of a generation being underemployed, the total social welfare bill for young job-seekers is €1 billion including secondary benefits, with the exchequer losing €500 million in taxes. We consider this an affordable and urgently required investment in our young people and in the future of this country.”