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Conditionalities on Youth Guarantee would create problems - Reilly

6 November, 2013

Speaking today on the Youth Guarantee during the Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection, Sinn Fein’s Spokesperson on Youth Affairs Senator Kathryn Reilly said that any potential conditionalities attached to the guarantee for young people would create problems, rather than solutions.

Reacting to comments made by representatives from the Department, she said:

“In a context where there are too few placements for the numbers of unemployed, it is completely counterproductive to force people who have no interest in a particular sector to take a position in that sector purely to massage the numbers of the live register.

“Job placements should never be a box ticking exercise. They need to be a pass into honest up-skilling and eventual employment.

“People are queuing up for placements on relevant schemes. The fact is that very often these placements are not available to them. Irish youth want to stay and work in the Irish market. “Potential conditionalties would force them abroad at a time when we desperately need skilled workers at home.  They also create a disengagement with the public employment services thus pushing the unemployed further into poverty.

“Recent reports from the international business world attest to the fact that Ireland is ending up with a shortage of necessary skilled workers. What we are hearing is day and day out is that the skills required for today’s commerce are not here. We are exporting our talent.

“If the government is serious about increasing employment in Ireland, it needs to up-skill its workers through adequate and relevant education, training and appropriately tailored placements. The youth guarantee will be new to Ireland and there is a lot yet to be done to tailor it to our own particular situation. Any teething problems, either in terms of staff levels, the public employment services, the availability of places or anything else must not be used as a stick to beat young people who may not fit a suggested intervention.

“The Youth Guarantee hinges on individual needs assessment and career plans. Until the architecture and staff are in place to deliver that efficiently, young people can’t be punished or suffer sanctions. Young people must be given appropriate up-skilling followed by appropriate opportunities to deliver those skills acquired. Anything other than that will be a short-lived and short-sighted plan.”

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