Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (15)

Alan Farrell


15. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the recent OECD Education at a Glance report showing that Irish graduates are more likely to be unemployed in comparison with other countries, and the noted lack of progression from education to work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32164/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The rates of graduate unemployment reflect the higher than average overall rates of unemployment in this country. There continues to be a strong correlation between educational attainment and unemployment. The data in the OECD report referred to by the Deputy focus on the situation in 2011. In particular, the report says that the unemployment rate in 2011 was 7.1% for people with a third level education, 15% for those with a Leaving Certificate and 21.7% for those with below upper secondary attainment. The report is a timely reminder of the scale of the unemployment crisis created under the last Government. It is worth remembering that in the three years to March 2011 a net 250,000 jobs were lost in the private sector in Ireland under the last Fianna Fail – Green Party Government. We are rebuilding our economy brick-by-brick, making it stronger, ensuring that successes gained are here for the long term. Since entering into office, the current Government is working very hard to tackle all forms of unemployment, particularly the unfortunate trends in long-term unemployment and youth unemployment. We have developed detailed strategies on several fronts - the Pathways to Work plan will help activate the long-term unemployed and the Action Plan for Jobs will, I hope, help create the right conditions for job creation within the economy. More recently, the Irish Presidency of the European Union oversaw the agreement of an €8bn fund to help tackle youth unemployment across all Member States. Within the field of education, I have worked hard to increase the number of retraining places available. A number of enterprise-targeted focus education and training schemes are available to jobseekers and the Government intends to bring them under one umbrella brand called Skills Plus. Skills Plus covers the Springboard, ICT Skills Conversion, Momentum, JobBridge and the Skillnets Jobseeker programmes. All of these initiatives have been introduced since 2011 and provide for targeted upskilling and reskilling programmes of one year or less in duration that are focused on the skills needs of industry. Almost 30,000 places are being provided for jobseekers across the full range of programmes in 2013. Further information on the range of Skills Plus programmes is available at

Question No. 16 answered with Question No. 9.