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At-risk youth may be 'unemployable' after recession

‘Meaningful’ action needed so vulnerable young people share in recovery.

YOUTH WITHOUT JOBS or training could be left “unemployable” after the recession as the rest of the country starts enjoying the spoils of economic recovery, a leading economist says.

Nevin Economic Research Institute director Tom Healy has pointed to figures which show the rate of people aged 18 to 24 who were not in employment, education or training – the so-called NEET group – in Ireland was the eighth-highest in the EU.

While the unemployment rate among Irish youth has been falling since its peak of over 30 per cent in early 2012, it remains about double the official jobless figure across the country.

Healy told that NEETs, particularly those who had left school early, were the group of “highly-vulnerable young people” who were most in danger of being left behind in any economic recovery.

There always was (this vulnerable group), but the recession’s made it worse. Now, as the job market recovers, they may not pick up on that recovery.

“In some ways it may become more difficult for them – they may be out of employment for so long they become virtually unemployable.”

ICTU Post Budget Briefings NERI director Tom Healy Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

He said a “meaningful” youth guarantee, an EU-wide pledge to ensure young people quickly got employment or further education after leaving a job or training, needed to be introduced in Ireland to protect vulnerable young people.

The Irish government has previously said it expects to provide a youth guarantee to about 30,000 young people at “very high risk of long-term unemployment” this year.

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The Department of Social Protection has been contacted for comment.

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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