Cork has second highest rate of long-term young unemployed
Youth Council calls for €22 million spend on apprenticeships, training and education
Figures showing that Cork has the second highest number of young long-term unemployed of any county in the State has prompted the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) to call for increased investment in apprenticeship schemes.
The figures, obtained on foot of a parliamentary question to the Minister for Employment and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, revealed that 625 people in Cork under the age of 26 had been in receipt of job-seekers allowance/benefit or had been signing for credits for more than a year. Only Dublin (1,944) had a higher figure.
In its pre-budget (2019) submission entitled ‘Future Proof with Investment in Youth’ the NYCI has called on the government to invest €22 million in education, training and access to apprenticeships.
James Doorley the deputy director of the NYCI, which represents youth organisations working with more than 380,000 young people nationwide, said investment on this scale would halve the number of long-term youth unemployed by the end of 2019.
“Census 2016 has indicated that our population aged between 10 and24 will increase by more than one million by 2025, so we need to invest in policies, services and supports to meet the needs of young people today while also preparing for demographic pressures in the coming years,” said Mr Doorley.
“While we welcome job growth in the Irish economy and the consistent trend of reduced youth employment, we are concerned that the 8,915 young people nationally who have currently been unemployed for more than 12 months,” he added.
He said the NYCI had costed a number of measures that would meet its target of reducing that number by 50 per cent before the end of next year.
He said a key measure would be the investment of €2 million in an ‘access to apprenticeships’ programme that would be open to all applicants, in particular those from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds and those with limited formal qualifications.
“The Government rightly spends over €31m supporting access to Higher Education; therefore we believe our proposal is a modest yet necessary measure to assist young people with fewer opportunities to avail of the growing number of apprenticeships available at present,” said Mr Doorley.
He said a further investment of €20 million would help provide an additional 2,650 education and training places, pointing out the total investment would have a substantial long-term cost benefit to the exchequer.
“The gross investment of €22 million would lead to reduced social welfare payments, as more young people move into employment,” pointed out Mr Doorley.
“For example, a 50 per cent reduction would see a reduction of some 2,650 young people on the lowest rate of job-seekers allowance of €107.70. This in turn would save just over €14 million per annum, so the estimated net cost of the investment would be just €6 million,” he added.