Commenting on figures released by the CSO today which show a jump in the number of young people on the live register, Sinn Fein Senator Kathryn Reilly said the Youth Guarantee needs to be reviewed immediately if it is to reach any of its goals.
Senator Reilly said:
“The number of young people on the live register is still unacceptably high. There was an increase of nearly 3,000 young people under the age of 25 signing on last month, rising from 58,516 in May to 61,448 in June.
“Figures from the Department of Social Protection also show that 24,000 long-term unemployed young people have been on the Live Register for over a year.
“The jump in figures reflects a lack of immediate opportunities or options for young people here.
“The National Youth Council of Ireland Quarterly Household survey recently showed the number of young people in employment declined since 2012, from 151,000 to 142,000. The obvious conclusion from this is that young people are still emigrating in their masses or returning to education.
“We are half way through 2014, the first year of a two year plan. So many young people I’ve been in touch with recently haven’t even heard about a Youth Guarantee, never mind are up to speed on how they should go about trying to avail of a placement. Too many feel no change and at this time of year students are leaving education greeted by silence.
“Those young people, who form part of the increase in numbers on the live register last month feel no urgency from this government in the creation of real sustainable options for them. Young people don’t want tokenistic offers for less than minimum wage. They want and deserve real work and career development options.
“If the Youth Guarantee is to reach any of the goals it sets out to achieve in providing for young people, plans need to be reviewed immediately. Questions need to be asked about the sluggish speed at which it’s being operated.
“There is an absolute need for review prior to the end of the second and final year of 2015. There is little point in reviewing something once it’s over. We can’t afford to see another jump in numbers next month. The government needs to pay heed to these new figures and listen now.”