Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has supported demands from the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) for greater investment in apprenticeships to help halve long term youth unemployment by 2020.

New figures released to the NYCI show that there are currently 6,000 long term unemployed young people in the state. In its 2020 pre-Budget submission NYCI is calling for an overall investment of €14.9 million in education, training, and apprenticeships

The Sinn Féin TD said:

“Recent census figures indicated that our population aged between 10-24 years will increase to over one million by 2025. We need to invest in policies, services, and supports to meet the needs of young people today, while preparing for the demographic challenges we inevitably face in the coming years.

“Unfortunately, in Ireland too many young people feel pressured to go down the college route instead of considering starting an apprenticeship that might be more suited to their particular skills.

“The youth unemployment rate is still over 10% and almost 6,000 young people are officially categorised as long-term unemployed. That is unacceptable and more needs to done to encourage them into learning new skills through apprenticeship training, where they can learn and gain valuable work experience while working towards a qualification.

“The other obvious positive is that it helps equip Ireland with the highly skilled, well paid, and motivated workers it needs in the coming years

“There are currently 16,000 young people on various apprenticeship programmes, but we need to do more if we are to meet today’s challenges

“NYCI have said that we need increased investment in Budget 2020 to support more young jobseekers into an apprenticeship, along with a range of other employment and training measures to reduce long-term youth unemployment.

“The government have proposed expanding apprenticeship schemes, but their progress to date has been painfully slow and goes nowhere near meeting the challenges facing young people on the live register.

“We need to think big and differently in order to give greater choices to our young people. Enhanced apprenticeships programmes need additional funding in Budget 2020. I agree with NYCI and echo their call for greater investment in apprenticeships in an effort to halve the long term youth unemployment by 2020.”