NEW data from the Department of Social Protection shows that the number of young people under 26 in Limerick in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit for six months or more now stands at 936.
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), whose members work with over 380,000 young people nationwide, has highlighted concerns at the number of young people in Limerick who are unemployed for six months or more.
Commenting on the figures James Doorley, NYCI Deputy director said: “We are concerned at the number of young people who are unemployed in Limerick, particularly those unemployed for six months or more. This disappointing figure is mirrored at the national level, where we have over 11,711 young people long-term unemployed.”
“The EU Youth Guarantee Programme guarantees a work, education or training opportunity to any young person unemployed for four months or more. In 2013, the Government committed to the implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Ireland. Yet four years on, despite the improving economy and labour market, we still have too many young people out of work,” Mr Doorley explained.
The NYCI is now calling on Government to develop an action plan under this scheme in order to reduce the number of young long term unemployed to 5,000 — more than halving long term youth unemployment by the end of 2018.
“It is vital we support young jobseekers into education, training and work experience and prevent the drift into long-term joblessness. This will require a renewed focus on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee and the provision of additional education and training places,” continued Mr Doorley.
“We recommend an additional investment of €47.4m in Budget 2018 to reduce the number of young people long term unemployed by the end of 2018. This is the gross cost, as this investment would lead to reduced social welfare payments as more young people move into employment — saving €33.4m per annum. While the net financial cost would be €15m, the social, economic and community benefit of having over 6,000 more young people in gainful employment is incalculable.
“As the economy recovers we should be much more ambitious in tackling long term unemployment in particular among young people. Our proposals are achievable and we look forward to engaging with the new Taoiseach on this issue in the coming weeks,” he concluded.
by Alan Jacques