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Hundreds of millions sitting unspent in the National Training Fund – Quinlivan

10 July, 2019 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Jobs, Workers' Rights and Pay Equality, Maurice Quinlivan TD, today said it is absolutely scandalous that hundreds of millions of euro has been collected but not spent in Ireland’s National Training Fund over the past few years.

Speaking from Leinster House this afternoon, Deputy Quinlivan said:

“Information I received in response to a parliamentary question shows a huge amount of money collected by the National Training Fund over the last number of years, has went unspent.

“From 2015 to 2018, some €299,000,000 has been collected but not spent, while the projected underspend for 2019 alone is a further €199,000,000.

“It is absolutely scandalous that this money has not been invested in raising the skills of those in employment, helping jobseekers upskill, and facilitating lifelong learning, the actual purpose of the fund.

“It is hard to understand how the government is not investing the €199 million that will go unspent this year alone, in upskilling and retraining workers to offset some of the damage Brexit will bring.

“To have a surplus of half a billion euro when the youth unemployment rate remains at 10%, and there is a growing skills shortage across many industries, is totally unacceptable.

“The latest CSO figures show 28,800 young people remain out of work. Money from the NTF should be invested in these people, to try and help them get back into the workforce or support them in further education, training and apprenticeships.

“In addition, more money from the National Training Fund should be invested in the apprenticeship system in Ireland.

“The apprenticeship system in Ireland is in dire need of reform and expansion, to ensure we give young people more tertiary education options, but also to equip Ireland with the skilled workers needed for growing and emerging industries.

“Sinn Féin have pledged to abolish apprenticeship fees, to help encourage more people into apprenticeships. This would cost just €4.8 million this year, a tiny 1% of what has been collected, but not spent, in the NTF over the past few years.

“The Minister must clarify why this money is going unspent and outline how he now intends to invest the hundreds of millions of euro that has now built up.” 

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