Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker’s Benefit are my Department’s two main statutory schemes providing income support to qualifying people who have lost employment and are unable to find full time work. The estimated revised expenditure for 2022 for the statutory jobseekers schemes is approximately €2.17 billion.
Young jobseekers are eligible to apply for the means tested Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit if they have sufficient PRSI contributions. The numbers of 18-24 year old's in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance and Jobseekers Benefit are some 12,700 and 3,300 respectively.
The Government's national employment strategy "Pathways to Work 2021-2025", which was launched in July last year, contains, among other measures, a series of targeted further education and training supports to enhance the employment opportunities for young jobseekers, to include:
- Ring-fenced positions for young people on the Work Placement Experience Programme;
- Additional Community Employment and Tús places for young people;
- Providing 50,000 further education and training places;
- Increased places on the JobsPlus recruitment subsidy- with the subsidy being available, on an earlier basis than normal, to employers when they recruit young people.; and,
- Targeting 10,000 apprentice registrations per year by 2025.
The aim of Pathways to Work 2021-2025 was to use these measures to reduce the youth unemployment rate back to or below the 2019 average of 12.5% by 2023. According to the latest CSO data, the seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rate for March is already below this target at 12.3% and further work in this area will continue to support these young people.
I trust that this clarifies the position for the Deputy.