McGahan calls on training to deliver as 500 young out of work in town
A LOCAL assembly member has called for government programmes aimed at those who are not in work, education or training, to deliver genuine potential for full-time employment, after it was revealed that 500 young people found themselves in this situation during the month of August.
Bronwyn McGahan was speaking after Employment and Learning Minister, Stephen Farry, revealed the figure in response to an Assembly question tabled by her.
The Minister also detailed how jobless statistics for August showed there were 50 claimants in the Dungannon area who are long-term unemployed aged 24 and under (those unemployed and claiming JSA for 12 months or more).
Ms McGahan, MLA for Fermanagh-South Tyrone, told the Tyrone Times that, while she welcomed measures to tackle the situation faced by many young people in Dungannon, there was a need for proper training and hope of full-time employment.
“I believe we need to have a comprehensive system that offers genuine skills training with accreditation”, she continued.
“I am concerned that many young people in the Dungannon area are falling under the designation of NEET’s and will become economically inactive for long periods of times.
“Many of the courses on offer actually become a conveyor belt where people are put into work placement over a short period to carry out menial tasks over a twelve week period only to return to NEET’s.
“While these placements offer work experience many people see them as a way of manipulating the jobless figures as opposed to a genuine attempt at training.
“I would call on the Minister to look at long term courses such as apprenticeships or courses that are based through education in order to allow participants to gain a qualifications that they can use to gain meaningful employment.”
Minister Farry explained that, in estimating the number of young people not in Employment, full-time Education or Training (NEET), his Department uses the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
In his reply to Bronwyn McGahan’s question, Mr Farry said: “In terms of initiatives that my Department is undertaking, on 31 May 2012, I secured Executive endorsement of “Pathways to Success”, the cross-departmental strategy to tackle the issue of those young people who are not in education, employment or training.
“I launched the strategy with an oral statement to the Assembly on 11 June. I also secured substantial additional funding to implement the strategy and made an oral statement to the Assembly on 2 July announcing £5.8 million for this financial year and proposals for future years of £15.6 million in 2013/14 and £19.6 million in 2014/15.”
The Minister also explained that he is introducing new initiatives specifically for 16 to 18 year olds to include case management by the Careers Service of young people aged 16 and 17 who drop out of provision or do not have a positive destination when they leave school; and a new training allowance for 16 and 17 year olds participating on existing programmes funded by the European Social Fund.
The Minister insisted there was a “very substantial” range of support being put in place, and said the initiatives would be introduced in the coming weeks and months.
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Weather for Dungannon
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 10 C
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