Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (248)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

248. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the Irish language Youthreach programme in Connemara, County Galway is being closed; if the funding for the programme will be extended; the funding for this specific programme over each of the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8247/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Youthreach is an education and training programme delivered in out of school settings to young people aged 16 – 20 who have left the mainstream school system early. It is a further education programme operated by Education and Training Boards (ETBs).

An evaluation of the Youthreach programme is currently being finalised, and is due for publication in quarter 1 2019. This evaluation will examine the outputs and outcomes of the Youthreach programme and the effectiveness of this provision. The report will also make recommendations on how the programme can be developed in the future.

In 2018, there was planned provision of 4,372 Youthreach places throughout the country. This number has decreased significantly over the last number of years, by just over one third, primarily due to higher retention rates in post-primary education. Ireland's rate of early school leaving in 2017 was 5%, one of the lowest early school leaving rates in the EU.

This pattern is very much in evidence in west Galway. Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) have informed my Department that there are higher retention rates in post primary schools and consequent decreasing demand for provision of second chance education for early school leavers in the local area. In light of this lack of demand, GRETB decided to no longer deliver the Youthreach programme at the location in question.

However, GRETB is offering a number of courses through Irish in Ionad Breisoideachais Rosmuc as progression routes for learners. The following courses are available: Business Administration Level 5; Healthcare Level 5; Childcare Levels 5&6.

Additionally a Sports and Fitness Levels 5 programme in Leitirmór in partnership with the Sportlann is also available.

GRETB also have a range of part-time programmes on offer at levels 3 to 5 that will be expanded throughout the year

This year, new courses that will be available through Irish have been proposed such as Aquaculture. This course has been offered in the past and GRETB are looking at implementing it again with an emphasis on Seaweed Production and Harvesting. Other modules include Marine Engine Repair, Net Mending, and Shell-fish on-growing, all of which will be taught through Irish.

An additional course in Truck and Bus driving in the Connemara Gaeltacht has been proposed and this will be offered as progression to Youth reach learners. This course will also be available in the Irish language.

The funding for the Youthreach programme is set out in the following table.

YouthReach Leitir Mór

-

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

10 Year Total

Allowances

118,173

133,153

150,353

143,256

103,837

95,698

60,863

39,080

57,374

77,732

979,519

Pay

207,323

360,853

263,805

288,698

265,773

255,300

205,331

212,383

254,088

198,253

2,511,807

Non-Pay

44,890

53,558

50,640

54,481

86,629

46,370

57,962

42,436

46,691

44,374

528,031

370,386

547,564

464,798

486,435

456,239

397,368

324,156

293,899

358,153

320,359

4,019,357