Former Welfare Officer stuck in welfare queue

The number of Irish people claiming social welfare is now 332,801 according to the Live Register on October 2 2015.  Of this figure 45,173 claimants are under 25 years of age.

Graduate unemployment was highlighted again in recent weeks, when former DCU Welfare Officer Eve Kerton published an article in The Irish Times documenting her struggle with joblessness.

“I’m usually abuzz with positivity, but I’ve lost my sparkle. I don’t think I’m too good for social welfare,” the piece reads.

She goes on to say, “There definitely aren’t enough, if any, efforts being made to bridge the college-to-work gap, and I feel this is the case in colleges across the nation. I was lucky enough to sit on committees as welfare officer, which gave me access to wisdom, guidance and advice, yet still I remain unsuccessful in my pursuit of a job.”

Speaking to The College View after the article was published Kerton said, “I think there are issues with unemployment across the nation, in all fields and all skill sets. I think we need to create intra/work experience across the board for all courses, as it is far easier to secure internships/jobs with experience and contacts in the field you’re interested in.”

When asked about the backlash the article has received online, Eve replied, “I was contacted by nearly 300 people of all ages, all qualifications, all skill sets, either in the same boat or out the other side offering their support and advice and even a simple thank you for starting a conversation they felt to embarrassed to speak about. If lifting the shame is the only outcome of the article, I’m proud of that.”

Last week, the published an article in the same vein as Kerton’s, focussing on three graduates who have failed to gain employment, one of whom is emigrating to Australia.

Emigration remains the biggest influence on unemployment figures in Ireland with the CSO reporting that 39,800 graduates have left Ireland between April 2014 and April 2015.

Alison Ring

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