Sinn Féin Deputy Chair of the Enterprise Committee, Phil Flanagan MLA, has called for a partnership approach between government and business to tackle youth unemployment.
Speaking from an event in Belfast on Youth Unemployment organised by Business in the Community, Phil Flanagan said:
“I commend those involved in organising this event and the businesses who participated.
“Dealing with the challenge of youth unemployment needs a partnership approach between government and employers. 22.3% of young people aged 18-24 are unemployed 30% of the total unemployed are aged 18-24. This represents a huge pool of talent and youthful ambition that is being lost to our economy.
“Skills accrued in the formative years through education need to be harnessed, expanded on and utilised quickly or they are lost forever.
“I believe that a properly funded youth guarantee programme should be rolled out across Ireland. This would give out-of-work young people guaranteed access to paid employment or a useful training or skills development programme. My colleague Martina Anderson MEP is leading the fight for this in the European Parliament.
“To date, the Department of Learning approach to dealing with this issue has been overly dependent on schemes which deliver little return for young people. They are massaging the true impact of youth unemployment with young people placed in temporary, unpaid and often menial work to replace actual jobs.
“Instead of ‘schemes’ what is needed is deliverable and quantifiable ‘projects’ providing real opportunities for young people’s development to meet their full potential.” CRÍOCH/END