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5 steps to tackle youth unemployment outlined by SFA

The Small Firms Association says the lack of job opportunities has impacted on young people more than any other group in Irish society and called on the government to face the problem head-on.

Image: discpicture via Shutterstock

FIVE STEPS TO tackle youth unemployment have been outlined by the Small Firms Association, which has called on the government to address the growing problem head-on.

The SFA Chairman AJ Noonan said that the problem of youth unemployment is one of Ireand’s most pressing problems. “In the current economic and financial crisis, the lack of job opportunities has impacted on young people more than any other group in Irish society, this is reflected in our high and increasing youth unemployment rates,” he said.

Noonan said that, in the years leading up to the bust, there were about 325,000 under-25s employed in the State but there were now just 130,000, meaning that for every 10 jobs that existed at the beginning of 2008, six have disappeared. “Active labour policies are only part of the solution, reducing youth unemployment is not possible without a strong commitment and focus on education, growth and recovery”.

“The high levels of youth unemployment stand in sharp contrast to the potential of the young generation, it shows that something is seriously wrong in the functioning of our education system and our labour market,” he added.

Calling on the government to tackle this issue, he highlighted the actions required for both a short-term and long-term approach:

  1. No additional costs on employment in 2013
  2. Optimise the role of industry, in particular small firms, as a driver of sustainable and inclusive growth
  3. Strengthen the quality and relevance of education and training at all levels to reduce mismatches between skills supply and demand
  4. Further reform of the apprenticeship programme to move towards a dual learning system, ie, greater focus on alternate learning between training institute and industry, with a significant part of the education taking place in the workplace
  5. Create jobs that offer attractive career opportunities for young people

“We have to as a country and society reject the inevitability of a “lost generation”, we can and must create jobs and a working future for our youth.  We all need to create a better future – we need to learn from the past, replicate the good and plan for the future,” Noonan added.

Aaron McKenna: To combat youth unemployment, Ireland’s skills gap needs to be tackled
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Read: “You are a privileged generation” – Barroso to TCD audience

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