The Government has a range of measures in place to increase employment opportunities for young people and to tackle youth unemployment. I plan to work closely with all relevant Government departments to implement these measures in the context of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.
Last month I announced details of the €600,000 Youth Employability Initiative which is funded under the Dormant Accounts scheme. Under the Initiative 28 youth projects will receive grants to support innovative programmes that target disadvantaged young people who are most at risk of unemployment and who are not in education, employment or training. The programmes will aim to build skills that will enhance their employability and over 1000 young people aged 15 to 24 years across the country will benefit. My Department is setting up a forum with the successful youth projects in order to gather and share the lessons from this Initiative to inform future policy in this area.
My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services by the voluntary youth sector, to young people throughout the country. Each year, over 380,000 young people participate in the voluntary youth services. Young people who engage in youth work activities have the opportunity to attain specific skills which can enhance employability. These skills include learning to learn, social and civic competence, leadership, communication, teamwork, and entrepreneurship. These are the ‘soft skills’ that are relevant and applicable to industry and valued and sought after by employers.
In line with the Programme for Government, I plan to build on initiatives such as the Youth Employability Initiative, which can have a significant contribution to make to the Government’s employment agenda particularly for young people who are most marginalised from the labour market.