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    Young unemployed believe government relying on them to emigrate

    By Noreen Bowden | January 25, 2011

    The National Youth Council of Ireland has released a study called, “Youth unemployment in Ireland: the forgotten generation”, and the results make for depressing reading. The survey examined the experience of 90 young, active jobseekers aged between 18 and 24. Among other things, it took a look at the effect of unemployment on the young people’s likelihood to emigrate.

    As the executive summary states, Ireland’s rate of youth unemployment is troubling:

    Ireland now has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in Europe – 24.2 percent among 15 to 24 year-olds compared with an average rate of unemployment of 19.9 percent for the 27 European Union member states in 2009. The scale of the problem is also masked by a very significant increase in the number of young people re-entering or remaining in education and a very considerable increase in the number of young people emigrating.

    The report notes that the numbers of people under 25 emigrating increased from 15,600 in 2004 to 30,000 in 2009. The trend, of course, is continuing, with the ESRI most recently predicting net emigration of 100,000 over the next two years.

    Among the survey’s findings:

    – Of the 90 young jobseekers that were interviewed on a one to one basis all, or 100% of respondents, agreed that the ‘prospects for securing rewarding employment in Ireland are not very good.’

    – Of those 90 young interviewees 70% agreed that it is more likely – rather than less likely – that they will emigrate within the next 12 months in response to their status of being unemployed here in Ireland.

    – Among the 90 interviewees 90% were in agreement that ‘being unemployed has had a negative effect on my sense of well being.’

    In relation to emigration, many survey respondents made it clear that they believed the government was not doing enough to alleivaite youth  unemployment, with some stating their believe that the government is relying on emigration as a way of relieving some pressure on the economy.

    ?They (Government) are relying on large amounts of us (young unemployed) emigrating over the next few years….? – Young job seeking early school leaver (Rural)

    “It (emigration) seems to be the only policy response that they have…. Government are completely reliant on it (emigration) as a way to respond to the huge numbers of young people unemployed in Ireland.?  -Young jobseeker with Leaving Certificate and/or apprenticeship/vocational training qualifications (Urban)

    “……Talk to any young person at the moment and emigration is on their mind…There just aren’t enough opportunities here (in Ireland)?  -Young job-seeking early school leaver (Urban)

    “….Definitely…I am going to go (emigrate)…I don’t want to be sitting on the dole here (in Ireland) for another three or four years…? -Young jobseeker with Leaving Certificate and/or apprenticeship/ vocational training qualifications (Rural)

    “I am sure it (large scale emigration) is built into the economic projections for the next five years because there doesn’t seem to be any meaningful policies being developed to help young unemployed people.?  -Young job-seeking third level graduate (Rural)

    “You wonder do they (Government/policy makers) really want us (young unemployed) to stay (in Ireland)…We (social welfare recipients) are a drain…we are costing them (the exchequer) money…so they would probably be glad to see the back of us for a few years…That’s the way you feel anyway.?  -Young job seeking early school leaver (Rural)

    “You (the young unemployed) certainly don’t feel encouraged to stay at the moment…Nobody is telling us there is light at the end of the tunnel…?  -Young job seeking early school leaver (Semi- Urban)

    “…It (emigration) is a handy way for them ((Government /policy makers) to export the problem and to cut the costs (burden of social welfare payments on the national exchequer)…? Young job seeking early school leaver (Semi-Urban)

    “It (emigration) probably isn’t written down or talked of (as a policy) but it certainly wouldn’t do the country any harm at the moment (if a large proportion of young jobseekers were to emigrate).?  -Young job seeking early school leaver (Rural)

    I first wrote about young people’s perception that the government was encouraging emigration about a year ago, when the 2010 budget was announced. At the time, it seemed clear, judging from young people’s responses on Twitter, that many youths were viewing the lack of jobs initiatives and the cuts being made in social welfare as designed to encourage them to leave. How depressing to see this more formally confirmed.

    See the full report on the National Youth Council of Ireland website.

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