Action call as 27% of young out of work in Dungannon

DUNGANNON’S youth unemployment rate is more than six per cent higher than the Northern Ireland average, it has been revealed.

The worrying statistic was announced in response to a question tabled in the Assembly by Fermanagh-South Tyrone MLA, Bronwyn McGahan.

The news comes as the latest unemployment figures show there were 1,593 people out of work last month in the Dungannon Council area.

In Cookstown, that figure was 1,079, while in Magherafelt, some 1,175 people claimed unemployment benefits last month.

The issue of the high number of young people without work in the Dungannon area in particular was highlighted by Sinn Fein MLA for the area, Bronwyn McGahan.

Ms McGahan had asked the Minister for Employment and Learning, Stephen Farry, what action his department was taking to address the significant level of unemployment in this age group.

The Minister acknowledged that, in the Dungannon Council area, young people make up 27.5% of the total number claiming Jobseekers Allowance.

The Northern Ireland average is 21.1%.

Insisting that tackling the high level of unemployment among young people in the area was a “priority”, Dr Farry added:

“Steps to Work and Pathways to Work are the Department’s main return to work programmes and in

the Dungannon area 149 young people are currently availing of the former while 94 young people are

involved in the latter.

“The Youth Employment Scheme (YES), which I announced to the Assembly on 2 July, will invest £31

million across Northern Ireland in new measures to help young unemployed people find work over

the next three years.

“This Scheme is in the early stages of implementation but at present, 22 work experience opportunities are available through YES in the Dungannon area. I expect this number to rise significantly in the coming months.”