The EU-wide Guarantee will ensure that young people under the age of 25 receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The Guarantee was developed in response to the youth unemployment crisis: across the continent, an estimated 7.5 million young people aged 15-24 are not employed, not in education and not in training (so-called “NEETs”).
Commissioner Andor and Minister Burton worked closely to secure the agreement of member states on the Youth Guarantee during Ireland’s Presidency of the European Council in 2013, and Ballymun was subsequently selected as one of the EU’s Youth Guarantee pilot projects to help inform the full roll-out of the initiative.
Under the pilot project – which is co-funded by the European Commission and the Government - the Department of Social Protection is teaming up with education and training providers, local development organisations, youth services and employers to provide work, training and educational opportunities for young people in the Ballymun area. Today’s visit offered an opportunity to Commissioner Andor to see that work at first hand and to launch the Ballymun Youth Guarantee website – www.youthguarantee.ie
Commissioner Andor said: “I would like to recall the invaluable drive and commitment of Minister Burton to adopt a Youth Guarantee, and I thank Ireland for the important concrete steps it has already taken to implement the scheme. The Youth Guarantee pilot project in Ballymun, one of the 18 that the Commission is currently co-financing, is an ambitious project, and one that will give us valuable experience on how to develop the Youth Guarantee not only in Ireland but in all Member States. It is also an inspiring example of how Ireland has put to good use available funding from the European Social Fund. I now encourage the Irish authorities to continue their good work to put the guarantee into effect".
Minister Burton said: “Commissioner Andor has been instrumental in the development of this crucial initiative to tackle youth unemployment, and I’m delighted to welcome him to Ballymun to see the pilot project at first hand. In Ireland, we have made good progress in reducing unemployment generally, including youth unemployment, but we have much more to do. The Guarantee is central to that process, and is about ensuring young jobseekers have the work, training and education opportunities they need. Earlier this year, I launched an implementation plan setting out how the Guarantee will be implemented nationwide over the course of 2014 and 2015. The very encouraging work undertaken in Ballymun to date will provide important lessons for us in implementing the Guarantee in other parts of the country so that our young jobseekers get the chance to build the best possible futures for themselves, their families and their communities.”
The Ballymun pilot involves an initial group engagement at the local Intreo office, the Department’s “one stop shop” service where jobseekers get their income and employment supports in the one place. Each person is then referred to the Local Employment Service for a one-to-one interview with a career guidance worker where a personal progression plan is agreed. Based on an assessment of needs, the person will be guaranteed an offer of basic skills development, further education or training, work experience or employment within 4 months. All people under 25 on the Live Register in the Ballymun area are eligible for the pilot.
In keeping with the Government’s broader focus on tackling long-term unemployment, the nationwide implementation plan targets interventions, in the first instance, at those young people most at risk of long-term unemployment.
Therefore, over the course of this year, processes and programmes will be progressively rolled out to ensure that young unemployed people who have a low probability of finding employment without significant support will receive a Youth Guarantee offer within four months. The Government expects to provide a Guarantee offer to circa 30,000 young people at the highest risk of long-term unemployment this year.