A jobs strategy targetting marginalised young people is to be allocated €600,000 next year, says Children’s Minister James Reilly.
The Youth Employability Initiative will provide grants to voluntary youth services for specific programmes which improve employment prospects for disadvantaged young people.
Dr Reilly said it was “a first step” in delivering the National Youth Strategy which sets out 50 actions to be achieved between now and 2020. He said the funding had been secured through the dormant account funds. The money will be spent next year but applications must be made to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs before the year end.
It is anticipated that up to 25 youth projects and up to 300 young people could be assisted under the initiative.
Dr Reilly said over 380,000 young people participated in youth services, programmes and clubs throughout the country. He said young people who engaged in youth work activities had the opportunity to gain specific skills that could enhance their employment prospects.
Launching the strategy in Dublin yesterday, the minister said it had been influenced by consultations with 4,000 young people under the age of 25.
While it is a universal strategy for all young people, it provides for the needs of young people experiencing, or at risk of, poorer outcomes.
One third of Ireland’s population is under 25, with young people between 10 and 24 years, representing 18% of the population.
The strategy, the first of its kind, sets out the Government’s aims and objectives for young people between now and 2020.
It addresses key areas such as health and mental well-being, education and learning, safety and protection from harm, employment and social inclusion and the role and contribution of young people to the community and the wider world.
The National Youth Council of Ireland described the initiative as a positive step but said implementation was key.
“Ultimately, it is vital that this and the next Government commit the political leadership, structures and resources to ensure implementation,” said the council’s director Mary Cunningham.
“Too often government actions concerning young people have been reactive, piecemeal and disjointed and that has not only been negative for young people but a loss for Irish society in failing to tap into the talent, energy and capacities of our young people.”
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