New Under-25 Employment Plan Launched

Youth Guarantee 1

The Government has launched the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan. The document lays out the details of the European-wide scheme, designed to provide work, training opportunities and guidance for young job seekers under the age of 25.

“Research shows that spells of unemployment while young can leave permanent scars,” said the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton at the launch of the scheme at the end of January. “We already have a lot of the component parts of the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan in place in Ireland but we are going to build on them and ensure over time that young jobseekers get the opportunities they deserve.”

The plan, which spans some 41 pages, specifies how the guarantee will be rolled out by tailoring the existing services already in place to deal with the crisis. This will involve allocating additional places in JobBridge, Community Employment Schemes and at third-level institutions. Many of the requirements to qualify for the already established schemes will be altered, such as age or how long the applicant has been unemployed.

The plan calls for the government to start “expanding the number of opportunities” within subsidised private-sector recruitment and to provide support for self-employment. The plan also wants to introduce, “new options for young unemployed people in the area of youth entrepreneurship and international work experience training.”
The Department of Social Protection is charged with rolling out the plan over the next two years, but up to five other government agencies, including Solas and the Department of Education, will be involved.

“It seems to be a very complicated system,” said Susan Menton, the Project Manager and Developer of the Talk About Youth Programme (TAYP) at St Andrew’s Resource Centre. “There’s an expression here at the moment ‘it’s all blue sky, there’s nothing on the ground as yet’ and that’s what it seems like. There’s loads of aspirations of what could be good ideas, but it just doesn’t seem to have landed on the ground yet.”

Many elements within the plan are quite generic and the involvement of a variety of government and non-government agencies could raise some questions about oversight and the physical implementation of educational places or places on existing employment programmes.

“What seems to be happening with the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan is it seems to be using existing structures. Each of those individual places has worked with each other but not necessarily in a holistic, cohesive way. What the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan is talking about is bringing all those players into the one space, and if that happens that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t seem to be happening just yet,” said Susan.

Opposition parties within the Dáil were quick to criticise the plan with Fianna Fáil spokesperson on social protection, Willie O’Dea, saying it lacked in terms of “substance and is incredibly short on details”. Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for youth affairs, Kathryn Reilly said the current guarantee should “not be an addition to schemes already in place”.

Pictured: Jack Eustace from Labour Youth at a Youth Guarantee meeting at Liberty Hall.
Photo by Shauneen Armstrong.
Image courtesy the Labour Party.

By Liam Cahill