Youth Council calls for €22m apprenticeship boost to lift job figures
A €22m investment is needed to halve long-term youth unemployment by the end of 2019, the National Youth Council of Ireland has told the Government.
The council said latest figures show that almost 8,000 people under the age of 26 have been unemployed for 12 months or more.
Among the measures proposed by the council is a €2m investment to boost the number of people undertaking apprenticeships.
"While we welcome job growth in the Irish economy and the consistent trend of reduced youth unemployment, we are concerned about the 7,817 young people under 26 who are now long-term unemployed," said James Doorley, the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) deputy director.
The number of apprentices in training last year was 12,849. That compared to 10,445 in 2016.
The NYCI wants the Government to commit to doubling the number of new entrants into apprenticeship schemes to 9,000 a year by 2020.
The lobby group also wants apprenticeships in new skills, such as animation, horticulture and healthcare.
The construction sector is among the areas where apprentices are urgently required.
The NYCI also wants the Government to ensure disadvantaged people are not unable to participate in apprenticeship schemes.
"The entrance criteria for some apprenticeships now require qualifications to a certain level in some subjects," said Mr Doorley.
"Where a young person has the motivation and aptitude for a trade but cannot meet these entrance criteria, an access programme can assist the young applicant to meet the entry requirements."
Mr Doorley claimed the net cost of the NYCI's proposed measures, which he insisted are "modest yet necessary", would be €6m due to reduced social welfare costs as more people move into employment.