For Oral Answer on : 14/07/2022
Question Number(s): 161 Question Reference(s): 34904/22
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Social Protection the current rate of youth unemployment; the measures that her Department is taking to assist young people to enter the workforce; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Young people in the labour market (those under 25 years of age) can be particularly affected by labour market disruptions. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rate for 2019 averaged approximately 12.5 percent. However, after the onset of the pandemic, the CSO’s ‘COVID-19 adjusted’ monthly youth unemployment rate – which included all those in receipt of the PUP – increased dramatically, peaking at almost 70 percent in May 2020.
Following the reopening of the economy most young people closed their PUP claims and returned to work, resulting in a strong decline in youth unemployment. As of June 2022, the youth unemployment rate stood at 5.4 percent.
While it is welcome that the youth unemployment rate has declined so rapidly, it is critical to continue to minimise potential scarring effects amongst young people who permanently lost their jobs during the pandemic, and to support young people who face difficulties or higher barriers to entry to the labour market.
Accordingly, Pathways to Work 2021-2025, the Government’s employment services strategy, includes a number of measures to support disadvantaged young people. These include expanding the JobsPlus recruitment subsidy scheme and enhancing the incentive to recruit young jobseekers by increasing the youth age limit from 25 to 30 years; and ring-fencing places for eligible young people on a range of employment support schemes such as the Work Placement Experience Programme, Community Employment and Tús.
My Department also works closely with the Further Education and Training sector to provide access to training and upskilling opportunities. As committed in Pathways to Work 2021-2025, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science are providing an additional 50,000 further education and training places to help more people to have the opportunity to upskill for employment. These training and upskilling opportunities are likely to be of particular relevance to young people seeking to enter the labour market for the first time.