Access to apprenticeships can halve youth uneployment by end of 2019 say NYCI

Access to apprenticeships can halve youth uneployment by end of 2019 say NYCI
A file picture of a youth unemployment protest

The NYCI, which represents youth organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide, is calling for an investment of €22 million in the education, training and access to apprenticeships to halve long-term youth unemployment by the end of 2019.

James Doorley, National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) Deputy Director, speaking in advance of the publication today of the organisation’s pre-budget submission, said Ireland needs the development of, and investment in, an access apprenticeships programme to support young people with fewer opportunities and qualifications. T

In its Pre Budget 2019 submission ‘Future Proof with Investment in Youth’ Mr Doorley point sout that census 2016 indicates the population aged 10-24 years will increase to over one million by 2025.

"We need to invest in policies, services and supports to meet the needs of young people today, while preparing for demographic pressures in the coming years.”

“While we welcome job growth in the Irish economy and the consistent trend of reduced youth unemployment we are concerned about the 8,915 young people* who are now long-term unemployed (for 12 months or more). We have costed a number of measures to help reduce this figure by half in 2019.”

Mr Doorley said the NYCI are proposing that €2m is invested in an access to apprenticeship programme.

"We welcome the growth in apprenticeships in the last number of years. The number of apprentices in training in 2017 was 12,849, up from 10,445 in 2016** driven by a 53% increase in the number of new entrants between 2015 and 2017.

"And we support the overall Government commitment to double the number of new entrants by 2020 to 9,000 per annum with the introduction of a range of new apprenticeships including in areas such as animation, horticulture and healthcare.” continued Mr Doorley.

“As we expand the number and range of apprenticeships, however, it is vital that these opportunities remain open to all young people, in particular young people who are economically and socially disadvantaged and those who have limited formal qualifications.

The group, he said, are also proposing the expansion of the existing pilot programmes such as the DIT ‘Access to Apprenticeship’ programme and the development of other schemes around the country to provide supports and address barriers, which may prevent disadvantaged young people from opting for and being able to sustain an apprenticeship, with a particular focus on the long term unemployed.

“For example, the entrance criteria for some apprenticeships now require qualifications to a certain level in some subjects. Where a young person has the motivation and aptitude for a trade but cannot meet these entrance criteria, an access programme can assist the young applicant to meet the entry requirements.

"Likewise, such access programmes could promote the greater participation of young women in apprenticeships, which is very low at present at just over 1%” added Mr Doorley.

“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.

"This €2m investment would be part of the overall €22m additional investment in Budget 2019 which NYCI recommends in order to halve the number of young people long-term unemployed by the end of 2019. We propose the provision of an additional 2,650 education and training places which will cost €20m based on the average cost of a SOLAS training placeof €7,578.”

“€22 million is the gross cost, as this investment would lead to reduced social welfare payments as more young people move into employment. For example, if we assume 50% or there were 2,650 fewer young people on €107.70, the lowest rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance, this would save just over €14m per annum, so the estimated net cost would be €6m,” concluded Mr Doorley.

Alongside access to apprenticeships, the NYCI Pre-Budget 2019 submission details a range of costed measures and calls for action on:

- enhancing youth work services

- halving long term youth unemployment

- equality for young jobseekers

- working to end youth homelessness

The full NYCI Pre-Budget 2019 Submission ‘Future Proof with Investment in Youth’ can be found here

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