Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ireland, Germany come together to fight unemployment among young people

Fiach Kelly in Berlin and Cormac McQuinn

IRELAND and Germany are to exchange information and ideas on how to get young people back to work, including how to increase the number of apprenticeships.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton attended an EU summit on youth unemployment hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. Ms Burton and her German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyden, agreed to share experiences and policies.

The meeting came as new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that youth unemployment has fallen almost 10pc in the past year.

However, questions have been raised about the drop in the number of young people signing on, with emigration and people staying in education for longer being partly credited for the decrease.

The figures show that there are 71,309 people under the age of 25 signing on each week – down 7,789 on June 2012 – and the figures have been released amid a renewed focus on the issue of young people out of work across Europe.

Ms Burton and Mr Kenny want to revive apprenticeship and traineeship schemes, which have seen their numbers drop because of the collapse in construction.

Around 20 EU heads of government – including French President Francois Hollande – and all Labour ministers in the EU attended the summit yesterday.

The German and Irish governments agreed in principle on a memorandum of understanding, which Ms Burton says "will facilitate the exchange of information, experience and best practice and also put in place measures to boost youth employment in both countries".

It follows on from agreement on an EU youth guarantee scheme, which will see €6bn allocated in 2014 and 2015 to get younger people back to work.

Individual countries, especially those with high youth unemployment, have to effectively bid for a portion of the €6bn by drawing up action plans on the issue.

Overall, the latest CSO figures show that the number of those on the Live Register fell to a three-year low in June, falling by 2,500 on a seasonally adjusted basis to 422,900.

The number of long-term dole claimants stands at 197,508.

The CSO now puts the standardised unemployment rate at 13.6pc, down from 14.9pc in June last year.

In total, the seasonally adjusted figures showed there were 264,400 men and 158,500 women on the Live Register in June. The number of long-term dole claimants stands at 197,508.

Irish Independent

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