The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly T.D.,
today
publishes Ireland’s first National Youth Strategy 2015-2020.  The
event
will take place in the Bluebell Youth and Community Project, Dublin
12.

The National Youth Strategy 2015-2020 sets out Government’s aim
and
objectives for young people, aged 10 to 24 years, so that they can
be
active and healthy, achieving their full potential in learning
and
development, safe and protected from harm, have economic security
and
opportunity and be connected and contributing to their
world.


One-third of Ireland’s population is under the age of 25, with
young people
between the ages of 10 – 24 representing 18.3% of the total
population of
4.59 million. The National Youth Strategy focuses on this age
group. It has
a particular focus on young people experiencing, or at risk
of
experiencing, the poorest outcomes.


The Strategy identifies
some fifty priority actions to be delivered by
Government departments, state
agencies and by others, including the
voluntary youth services over 2015 to
2017. These actions are designed to
address matters that are a high priority
for young people themselves. They
include issues such as access to online
youth mental health services, a
National Obesity Policy and Action Plan, 
opportunities for those young
people furthest from the labour market, youth
entrepreneurship initiatives
in schools and youth work settings and rolling
out the National Strategy on
Children and Young People’s Participation in
Decision-making (2015) so that
young people are consulted and have
opportunities to have their say and be
involved in the decisions that impact
on their lives.

The National Youth Strategy was informed by consultations
with over 4,600
people of which some 4,000 were young people under the age of
25. It was
drawn up by Department of Children and Youth Affairs with input
from youth
experts, Government departments and statutory agencies that have
policy
responsibilities and interests in youth matters as well as the
voluntary
youth organisations and representatives from the business and
academia.
Minister Reilly paid tribute to the national youth organisations
and the
their 40,000 volunteers who work with young people in local
communities
throughout the country.


Responding to one young
person, who, during the national consultations
earlier this year, said “If
something happens to me or my family, I need to
know that my government will
be there for us.” The Minister said “This
Strategy is the Government’s
response to that statement. It is an important
milestone in youth policy and
service delivery in Ireland and I am
confident, with collective effort, that
it will help create a positive,
supportive and enabling an environment where
all young people can
flourish.”

New Youth Employability
Initiative


The Minister announced that, as a first step in delivering
the National
Youth Strategy, his Department is introducing a new Youth
Employability
Initiative. The €600,000 Initiative will provide grants to
voluntary youth
services for programmes that target disadvantaged young
people to improve
their employability.  Over 380,000 young people participate
in youth
services, programmes and clubs throughout the country. Young people
who
engage in youth work activities have the opportunity to  attain
specific
skills which can enhance employability. These skills include
learning to
learn, social and civic competence, leadership, communication,
teamwork,
and entrepreneurship. These are the ‘soft skills’  that are
relevant and
applicable to industry and valued and sought after by
employers.


The new Youth Employability Initiative will target those
young people who
are most at risk of unemployment and who are not in
education, employment
or training and provide programmes for them to enhance
these skills.  It
is anticipate that up to 20- 25 new youth projects  and an
estimated
200-300 young people could be assisted under the programmes.{jcomments on}

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