Warning of ‘scarring effect’ as 10% of under-26s unemployed

Warning of ‘scarring effect’ as 10% of under-26s unemployed

Youth unemployment has a “scarring effect”, with almost 6,000 young Irish people being long-term unemployed for 12 months or more.

There are 5,897 people under the age of 26 in Ireland in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance for over a year.

A total of 2,990 are in receipt of the allowance for a period between 12 and 24 months; 1,281 between 24 to 36 months; and 1,626 between 36 and 60 months or more.

Despite the Irish economy approaching full employment, youth unemployment is still more than 10%, according to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has called for investment in apprenticeships as a solution.

“Studies always show the long-term impact of youth unemployment,” said James Doorley, deputy director of NYCI. “It has a scarring effect. It affects future earning potential and job prospects.

“There is a gap in the CV and that can sometimes have an impact.”

As of April 27, 7,143 people under the age of 26 have been in receipt of the jobseeker’s allowance for six months or less. More than 1,800 of these are in Dublin, which is the highest cohort. The next highest is Cork, where 523 people under the age of 26 have been in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance for six months or less.

There are 4,270 people aged 26 and under in receipt of the allowance for up to 12 months, with the most in Dublin, at 901, and Cork next with 296. Donegal comes third, with 280 people.

Mr Doorley said there is “concern about this cohort of young people”. He highlighted a number of issues that cause youth unemployment.

“The young person could have a limited number of qualifications,” he said. “They might not even have their Junior Certificate and you need a Junior Certificate to get on an apprenticeship scheme. In rural areas, it could be a lack of transport or a lack of jobs and then young people could have their own issues too.

“The first step into employment is always challenging. You’re competing against people in work who are seeking a promotion and people with a qualification.”

As part of its pre-budget submission, NYCI has lobbied the Government to increase access to apprenticeships.

There are 16,000 young people on apprenticeships in Ireland. Only 2% of these are female and 2.8% have a disability. The council estimates that an investment of €2.5m to access apprenticeships would halve long-term youth unemployment by 2020. It is also calling for an investment of €14.9m in education, training, and apprenticeships.

“We welcome the expansion and growth in apprenticeships in the last number of years,” said Mr Doorley.

“The number of apprentices in training in 2019 was 16,000, up from 10,445 in 2016, driven by a 110% increase in the number of new entrants between 2013 and 2018.”

However, he said more must be done to increase access to schemes.

“We support the overall Government commitment to increase the number of new apprentices, but more needs to be done to open up apprenticeships to young women, young people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and young people who are economically and socially disadvantaged, and those who have limited formal qualifications,” he said.

The NYCI’s pre-budget submission, ‘A Fair Share for Young People and Youth Work’, is on its website.

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