A Business Approach to Tackling Youth Unemployment

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Dublin, 17th February: Employer involvement is key to solving Ireland's youth unemployment problem, business leaders heard at a seminar in Dublin today.

The event, entitled 'A Business Approach to Tackling Youth Unemployment' and attended by over 80 business leaders, outlined the various programmes that are available and how companies can use them to benefit their business.

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, outlined the range of supports available to employers from her Department, while executives from companies, including Microsoft and Tesco, showcased how their businesses are working to get young jobseekers job-ready and back to work.

The Minister said: "I know that the best way to support the domestic economy is through the creation of jobs and I was very conscious from the moment I took office that we needed to involve employers in the process of transforming our services so that they work for jobseekers and employers alike."

An example of one such new service is the JobsPlus wage subsidy scheme, through which regular cash payments are made to employers to offset wage costs where they employ people who have been on the Live Register for more than 12 months. Since JobsPlus was launched in July 2013, it has helped to support more than 1,280 full-time jobs.

Minister Burton also spoke of the Youth Guarantee: "The concept of the Youth Guarantee is simple - to ensure that all young people between the age of 18 to 25 receive a good-quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.

"In Ballymun, which was chosen to implement a Youth Guarantee pilot project, the first referrals have already begun. Each young jobseeker we engage with will receive a guarantee of access to career guidance, leading to identification of an individual career plan with follow-through to training, education, work experience or full-time employment."

According to Gina Quin, CEO of Dublin Chamber: "Not every company is in a position to offer a young person a full-time job, but there are various other ways in which they can get involved and the Activating Dublin team are in the process of putting together a menu of engagement options for employers. I would encourage employers all over the country to do their bit when it comes to getting young people working. This includes everything from basic job sampling tours to job shadowing programmes and on-site placement training."

The event was co-hosted by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and Ibec and was delivered as part of the Activating Dublin programme.

Speaking at the event, Ibec Chief Executive, Danny McCoy, urged business and government to work together to give young people the skills and opportunities they need to get jobs. "The recovery will gather momentum this year and this will enable businesses to put in place firm plans for the future. Our ability to recover and prosper will depend on how we use our most valuable asset, the potential of our young people. As employers, we need to give all of our young people the support they deserve through full engagement with the Youth Guarantee Scheme," said Mr McCoy.

Speakers at the event included Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland, Tony Keohane, Chairman of Tesco Ireland, Anne Cleary, Government Affairs, Tesco Ireland, Colm Tracey, Owner of Eishtec and Mark Perry, CEO of Green Shield Security Services.

Ms Quin added: "The schemes put in place by the companies in Ballymun should serve as inspiration to others companies around the country. Young people have a lot to contribute and there are a number of supports available to employers who recruit from the Live Register, including cash-incentives. Improving employment opportunities for young people is a goal that we all share and there is a lot that the business community can do to make this happen."

Note For Editors:

About the Ballymun Pilot Youth Guarantee Scheme:
The Ballymun Pilot Youth Guarantee Scheme is an exciting partnership of all of the key players, including employers, which is testing a new collaborative approach to tackling youth unemployment. Under the scheme, all young unemployed people in the Ballymun area will be offered career guidance leading to an individual career plan and follow through to education, training, work experience or employment. For further information please see http://ballymunpilot.wordpress.com/

About Activating Dublin:
Activating Dublin is a joint initiative of Dublin City Council, Dublin Chamber and other elements from the private, public and social sectors, aimed at generating growth and employment in the Dublin region. The vision is to transform Dublin from a good international city to a great one to live, work and visit.

Last modified:17/02/2014