Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Second Chance Education.


asked the Minister for Labour the action taken by him in respect of second chance education in accordance with the Government decision announced in paragraph 4.29 of the White Paper on Industrial Policy.

The initial response to this particular provision of the White Paper on Industrial Policy was taken by my predecessor when he introduced the social guarantee in 1985. More recently this has been up-dated by a joint initiative, announced by myself and my colleague the Minister for Education in October 1988 entitled Youthreach. This programme became operational on 1 January of this year. Youthreach is designed to give unqualified early school leavers the opportunity of special education and training programmes for a period of up to two years. The ultimate aim of the programme is to assist these young people in getting a job or in re-entering the educational system so as to acquire further qualifications and thereby improve their chances of access to employment with a potential for advancement and progress.

Would the Minister agree that both of the measures to which he referred are concerned with young people who have recently left school? Would he further agree that there is a requirement for second chance education in regard to those who may be older and may have been at work for a number of years but who have become unemployed and who need retraining and, in some cases, an improvement in their basic education if they are to re-enter the workforce? Would he consider extending the provision of second chance education to include such people?

I will certainly look at those areas. Apart from Youthreach, many of the other FÁS training schemes cater for such people. Only a very limited number of people can continue on social welfare and get back into second chance education. There is a great need to expand that scheme and I will take a look at the areas where FÁS can help in second chance education.

Would the Minister agree the in many cases the problem is that people who were formerly manual workers find that manual work of the kind they were trained to do is no longer available, is technologically obsolescent, and that such people need to improve their basic education as distinct from skilled training? Would the Minister agree that there is need for an active programme to be carried out by the Department of Education particularly as the numbers now entering schools are reducing and resources should be available to remedy the educational problems of the 100,000 or 110,000 people who have been unemployed for more than a year?

Perhaps many of these questions are appropriate to another Minister.

They are appropriate to the Minister for Education. However, in the FÁS training schemes there is some technology training and a certain number of hours every week are devoted to modern technology to help those people who were trained 20 years ago and have no experience of modern technology. I will pass the Deputy's other remarks to my colleague, the Minister for Education.

Deputy John S. McCoy gave me notice of his intention to raise a Private Notice Question. The question is in order and the Deputy may now put the question.