A new fund of up to €1 million has been made available to the community and voluntary sector youth organisations to implement a Youth Employability Initiative.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, with the target of the initiative being young people under the age of 24 to improve their employability and achieve career goals.
The initiative is being supported by the sixteen Education and Training Boards (ETB) in Ireland who will advertise the initiative locally. The local ETB will then administer the funding to successful projects.
Each ETB will identify the target group which needs support in their area with the initiative designed to support projects that emphasise additionality and non-duplication of services currently provided by youth projects.
“This initiative will provide our young people with the soft skills necessary to improve employability and to engage with other programmes to achieve their career goals,” Minister Zappone said in announcing the initiative.
Successful applications will be awarded a budget allocation and must demonstrate how they will directly address the target group.
The initiative will be needs-focused, targeting 16 to 24-year olds but more specifically 16 to 18-year olds who are either unemployed, not in education or training and look to assist them on their progression into employment.
The announcement of additional funding to youth organisations was also welcomed by Youth Work Ireland.
Spokesperson Michael McLoughin told The College View that the news is welcomed, however, the volume of funding needs to be higher:
“We welcome all additional funding for youth work. We do believe there is a long way to go to reversing the substantial cuts made during the recession which were much higher than other areas of expenditure.
“Naturally, the volume needs to be higher. Youth groups are working with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on the rules and regulation but this needs to unlock new finds soon. There are many new and growing geographic communities that need new funds,” McLoughlin said.
McLoughlin added that voluntary organisations need more assistance: “Increasingly, there is a huge level of compliance and paperwork. This is accepted but voluntary organisations need more assistance in meeting this challenge,” McLoughlin said.
He concluded that the voluntary sector needs to be “at the table” when decisions are made.
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