Plan needed to tackle Offaly youth unemployment

OFFALY Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has said the Social Protection Minister needs to be more specific about tackling youth unemployment and begin by implementing ideas brought forward in Fianna Fáil’s strategy on the issue.

OFFALY Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has said the Social Protection Minister needs to be more specific about tackling youth unemployment and begin by implementing ideas brought forward in Fianna Fáil’s strategy on the issue.

Deputy Cowen said, “I welcome Minister Burton’s comments that Ireland’s Presidency of the EU next year has the potential to make a significant impact on the crisis which has gripped countries all across Europe. However there are specific ideas being brought forward now that the Government is failing to move on.

“Fianna Fáil produced a strategy on youth unemployment in May. It set out in detail a number of measures to help young people get back into the workforce and also improve their skills. The plan requires an investment of €52 million but the cost of not investing in young people to get them into employment will be far greater for society.

These included: Training 100,000 young job seekers with ICT skills over the next four years to address the immediate skills shortage in the technology sector;

Strengthening and expanding JobBridge to add 5,000 more places for graduates under 25;

Introducing extensive graduate programmes to all the state supported banks;

Dramatically reforming education, welfare and employment services introducing education and training vouchers on a pilot basis.

“Minister Burton is making all the right sounds about tackling youth unemployment but radical and immediate action is needed. There are over 80,000 people under 25 on the Live Register, almost 2,000 of those in Offaly alone.

“Our plans are realistic and affordable. They will make a real difference to young people and more importantly if these initiatives are implemented and progress is made in the months ahead the Government will have proven proposals that could be replicated in other countries also suffering high rates of youth unemployment.”