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Lack of employment opportunities may hamper success of Ballymun Youth Guarantee – Senator Reilly

23 March, 2015

Sinn Féin Senator and Spokesperson on Youth Affairs, Kathryn Reilly, has responded to today’s report on the Ballymun Youth Guarantee (BYG) saying;

“Firstly I would like to congratulate the stakeholders and local community groups and activists who worked tirelessly on this project. These are the people who should be praised for any success of the project.

“However, there were some noticeable recommendations in the report which the government must address.

“A particular area for concern was the paucity of employment opportunities in the private sector. The report stated that, “it is notable that so few participants gained employment in the private sector. Many of the young people indicated that what they really wanted was a job – any job - but the experience during the pilot was that there were insufficient private sector employment opportunities for job-ready clients”.

“Even with these schemes where young people and community workers invest copious amounts of time and effort to prepare for employment, there is still a dearth of jobs. This is reflected in the employment figures which show a drop of young people in employment.

“There also needs to be a continued period of monitoring where young people are guided long term to make sure that the options and offers made to them match up to their assessments and progression plans, and that the interventions made are not just a box-ticking exercise. We do not want a revolving door system for these young people.

“Reinforcing this, the report stated that, “while the short-term outcome can quickly be determined, the impacts will, necessarily, not be seen for some time and cannot be determined within the BYG timeframe”.

“Furthermore, Sinn Féin has stated from the outset that not enough funding was allocated to the BYG, and to the Youth Guarantee as a whole. It is therefore quite infuriating to see almost one-third of the funding, around €100,000 being returned to the European Union, while lone parents, who make up over 40% of families in Ballymun were excluded from the scheme.

“There were some successes from the BYG but the government should not let that obscure the fact that there were substantial problems too, and they should be rectified immediately in order to improve the Youth Guarantee’s performance nationally.”

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