Written Answers. - Summer Jobs Scheme.

Tom Hayes

Question:

337 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reasons for the decision to cut the student summer jobs scheme. [3910/03]

The student summer jobs scheme was first introduced in 1993 to provide income support for less well off students who were disqualified under social welfare legislation from receiving unemployment assistance during the summer months. The scheme allowed students to take up part-time work useful to their community and to receive payment for this work. When the scheme was introduced, unemployment levels in Ireland were among the highest in the EU and students found it difficult during the holiday period to obtain work. In the past five years, however, the take-up has dropped significantly, from 13,500 in 1998 to 4,600 in 2002. This decline reflects the greater and wider availability of alternative and well paid summer jobs in recent years.

In view of above and in light of the financial pressures on my Department, it has been decided to discontinue the scheme. There are no plans to develop a replacement scheme. The Government has decided to shift the focus of available resources towards educational initiatives targeted at disadvantaged students.