Speaking today on the release of the latest Live Register figures, Sinn Fein's Spokesperson on Youth Affairs, Senator Kathryn Reilly said:
“While the government will spin the latest fractional drop in Live Register figures as a good news story, the reality is the number of young people under 25 and unemployed has gone up. According to the seasonally adjusted figures today, the number has crept up from 61,448 to 62,082. Another 634 young are unemployed as the month of July ends.
“What this is spelling out loud and clearly is that the much heralded Youth Guarantee scheme for the 'under 25s' is not being implemented or is not working. The very group the scheme sets out to target is being left behind. The question has to be asked, who is the Youth Guarantee helping then?
“The mandatory element instilled into job schemes for under 25s is wrong and counterproductive. This is at a time when there are not enough case workers to provide sufficient support and guidance to facilitate adequate choices or options. Compulsory work for less than minimum wage on the likes of JobBridge in an area or sector that provides no future prospects is not an opportunity. It is discriminatory and exploitative. Using a stick to force young people onto compulsion work programmes to massage number on the Live Register is wrong and disingenuous.
“When this government talks of recovery, it obviously doesn't include young people under 25 into that bracket. Evidently, as today's figures show, the Youth Guarantee scheme is not proving to be any kind of a solution to youth unemployment. It's another case of smoke and mirrors.”