Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Back to Education Scheme required for young unemployed people and Construction Workers

6 November, 2008 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights Spokesperson Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) is urging Minister for Employment and Learning, Reg Empey to give urgent consideration to a back to education scheme for unemployed young people and those who have been made redundant as a result of the present economic climate - in particular those who have left school without any qualifications.

Martina Anderson said:

"Sinn Féin has constantly highlighted the need for training and retraining for those unfortunate enough to have been the victims of redundancies in the textiles and manufacturing sectors over recent years. Unfortunately there has been little attention paid to this problem by successive Ministers. Even those limited schemes that are available are seldom pro-actively promoted. Not having learned the lesson of the collapse of the textile and manufacturing base we are once more unprepared for the negative effects of the present economic climate on job retention or creation. Thousands are now being made redundant in the construction and related services sectors and there is no mechanism in place to offer them alternative prospects.

"The remaining manufacturing and SME sector is under pressure and in need of support but construction is where we are haemorrhaging most jobs in the present climate. The unsustainable growth in this sector was encouraged by largely unregulated financial institutions with what should have been recognised by government as inevitable consequences. We are now living with the results of unbridled greed by property and land speculators. The indirect taxation revenue that resulted from this speculation acted as a disincentive for Government to intervene with regulation of this sector of the economy. As a result of its growth, thousands of young people opted for the attraction of relatively good incomes in the construction industry in the belief that it would last forever. They realise now that this is not the case. Many left school early with no qualifications and many others left farming and other sectors to their detriment.

"I believe that it is imperative that Minister Empey give urgent consideration to introducing back to education schemes for construction sector workers and other unemployed young people in an attempt to alleviate the difficulties that they are facing seeking alternative employment.

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