The youth work sector has an important contribution to make to implementation of the Government’s jobs agenda for young people. Many youth organisations, funded by my Department, are working closely with the relevant government departments and are delivering training and employment opportunities including measures under the Youth Guarantee for young unemployed people throughout the country. In addition to developing a Youth Employability Initiative, the details of which have already been provided to the Deputy, my Department will progress a number of actions in the context of the Action Plan for Jobs for 2014 which will address youth employment and will complement the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan.
In the area of entrepreneurship, my Department will support the role of the voluntary youth work sector in relation to the new Youth Entrepreneurship Programme and the Youth Entrepreneurship Fund to be introduced by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and its entrepreneurship agencies. My Department will work with the relevant agencies to identify how best to facilitate links between local youth services and the Local Enterprise Offices /Microfinance Ireland so that young people under age 25, especially those who are furthest from the labour market, can be supported and mentored in entrepreneurial initiatives. My Department will also work with the youth sector organisations to facilitate the increased participation in volunteering opportunities by unemployed people in supporting the provision of youth services throughout the country. Such volunteering provides young people and adults with opportunities to develop and derive job relevant skills and competencies. The Department is also working closely with Léargas, the Exchange Bureau, on the Youth Chapter of the new Erasmus + programme 2014-2020, under which significant resources will be made available to Ireland in the coming years. The objective is to encourage youth groups and organisations to bring forward proposals to ensure that as many young people as possible can avail of transnational exchanges and opportunities to enhance their skills, competencies and employability.
My Department continues to work closely with the Departments of Education and Skills, Social Protection and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and with youth organisations to identify in what ways the youth sector can contribute to shared policy objectives to address youth employment and the Youth Guarantee.