Scheme to invest in under 25s ‘would cut welfare bill’

A scheme to guarantee everyone under 25 work, training or an educational opportunity within six months of coming on the jobs market could cut social welfare costs considerably, according to the EU.

The latest figures show unemployment among 25-year-olds is dropping steadily. However, it still accounts for around 17% of those out of work and is costing the State an estimated 2% of GDP — while the proposed scheme would cost 0.2%.

Research shows the youth guarantee scheme would cost about €6,000 per person compared to jobseekers payments of between €4,160 and €7,488 a year paid by the State.

The scheme envisages public employment services, education and training institutes, the social partners and others working together to identify the needs of each young unemployed person and to design and individual career plan that matches their strengths and weaknesses, said Labour MEP Emer Costello.

“There are now 23% of under 25-year-olds unemployed in Europe, while Ireland’s rate has shot up from 9% in less than four years. However a youth guarantee is not a ‘magic bullet’ for the problem but it is an approach based on what works elsewhere in Europe such as Austria with a youth unemployment rate of 8.5%.”

The general rate is around 4%.

Money from the European social and structural funds would be available to boost government spending, said employment commissioner László Andor. “We must invest in our young people now; the cost of not doing so would be catastrophic and would far outweigh the cost of the youth guarantee.”

The proposal will be presented to ministers from member states today.

See the Irish Examiner special on unemployment (August 2012):

* UNEMPLOYMENT FOCUS: DAY 1 - Ireland's job crisis

* UNEMPLOYMENT FOCUS: DAY 2 - Cork jobless total has trebled since 2005

* UNEMPLOYMENT FOCUS: DAY 3 - Tipperary signs of downturn painfully visible

* UNEMPLOYMENT FOCUS: DAY 4 - Limerick region has potential despite black spots


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