The number of young persons under 26 years of age that are in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance, jobseeker’s benefit or signing for credits for 12 months or more in County Donegal currently stands are 555, according to new figures from Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

In response to this and the situation around the country, the National Youth Council is calling for an ‘access apprenticeships programme’ to support young people with fewer opportunities and qualifications.

In its Pre Budget 2019 submission ‘Future Proof with Investment in Youth’ the NYCI, which represents youth organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide, is calling for an investment of €22 million in the education, training and access to apprenticeships to halve long-term youth unemployment by the end of 2019.

James Doorley, National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) Deputy Director said: “Census 2016 indicates that our population aged 10-24 years will increase to over one million by 2025, so we need to invest in policies, services and supports to meet the needs of young people today, while preparing for demographic pressures in the coming years.”

“While we welcome job growth in the Irish economy and the consistent trend of reduced youth unemployment we are concerned about the 8,915 young people who are now long-term unemployed (for 12 months or more). We have costed a number of measures to help reduce this figure by half in 2019.”

“Among these measures, we are proposing that €2m is invested in an access to apprenticeship programme. We welcome the growth in apprenticeships in the last number of years. The number of apprentices in training in 2017 was 12,849, up from 10,445 in 2016 driven by a 53% increase in the number of new entrants between 2015 and 2017.

He continued:" And we support the overall Government commitment to double the number of new entrants by 2020 to 9,000 per annum with the introduction of a range of new apprenticeships including in areas such as animation, horticulture and healthcare."

“As we expand the number and range of apprenticeships, however, it is vital that these opportunities remain open to all young people, in particular young people who are economically and socially disadvantaged and those who have limited formal qualifications."

The full NYCI Pre-Budget 2019 Submission ‘Future Proof with Investment in Youth’ can be found here: http://www.youth.ie/sites/youth.ie/files/NYCI%20Pre%20Budget%20Submission%20WEB_FINAL.pdf

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