Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (170)

Tom Fleming


170. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to address youth unemployment in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10682/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The 2011 Census provides the most recent statistics on the youth population in Kerry. According to the Census, there were some 16,300 young persons (aged 15-24) in Kerry in 2011, which represents 14% of the population (aged 15 and over).

There were 2,559 persons under 25 on the Live Register in County Kerry in January 2013, down 7.6% on the same month last year.

Young people, typically, suffer disproportionately from job losses in recessions as they tend to have entered employment more recently, are more likely to hold temporary contracts and to be employed in cyclically sensitive industries than older workers.

In the first instance, the Government’s primary strategy to tackle youth unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth. Past experience suggests that youth unemployment, which tends to rise relatively rapidly in a downturn, can be expected to fall relatively rapidly during the recovery.

In addition to promoting economic recovery, the Government recognises the need for interim measures to support the young unemployed and keep young jobseekers close to the labour market. There are five main approaches being taken to tackle youth unemployment: education, training, job search assistance/guidance, work experience, and encouraging job creation. These actions range across a number of Departments and Agencies. These initiatives are being rolled out in all areas across the country including Kerry. Details of these initiatives have already been outlined in earlier PQs relating to youth unemployment policies at the national level.

There are some programmes specific to Kerry that are also being run. FÁS provides a training course in Tralee, Deciding Your Future, which targets young unemployed clients from RAPID areas. Employment Services in Kerry provide school briefing services where they meet with schools/students who request their services on an annual basis to provide them with an overview of services available. The Mentor Project runs out of the Kerry Diocesan Youth Service (KYDS) in Tralee and provides a mentoring service for early school-leavers who have re-engaged in training with the Leaving Cert Applied in the KDYS, Community Training Centre in Monavalley and Youthreach/Transforum Alley (funded by Kerry Education Service). Clients (aged under 21) who are coming off these programmes are met on a one-to-one basis and provided with career guidance and referral services.