Press release from DYCA on May 15th 2013 and subsequent response from SWAN Ireland
Minister Fitzgerald to seek EU agreement on greater role for youth work in supporting youth employment initiatives
– Minister to chair EU Council of Youth Ministers in Brussels – Council expected to agree Irish proposals on contribution of youth work in supporting the goals of the Europe 2020 agenda including youth employment Wednesday 15th May 2013
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will tomorrow (Thursday 16th May) chair a meeting of the EU Council of Youth Ministers in Brussels which is expected to agree new EU policy positions including a set of concrete measures aimed at mainstreaming youth policy into broader EU policy initiatives on education, employment and training. Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Fitzgerald stated that “during Ireland’s Presidency of EU Council of Youth Ministers in Brusselswe have sought to lead an ambitious policy agenda aimed at raising the profile of youth work at EU level and mainstreaming youth work into broader EU policy responses to youth employment and social inclusion.” The Minister added: “Youth umemployment remains one of the biggest challenges facing the EU.” “There is growing recognition across Europe of the potential of youth work services to contribute to measures to enhance employability for young people, in particular those not engaged in education, employment or training – the so-called NEET’s cohort. Youth work services already provide a significant level of engagement with this group, including through the valuable work with young people in disadvantaged communities. I believe Youth work services, may therefore be in a position to provide a value-added not readily-available to other employment and training programmes. “The Irish Presidency has focused on the contribution of youth work in supporting the goals of the EU’s Europe 2020 growth agenda and the potential to support measures as part of the proposed new ‘Youth Guarantee’ initiative.” Next month, as part of the Ireland’s EU Presidency, Minister Fitzgerald will host a high-level round-table conference of international experts in Castletown House, County Kildare to further examine the contribution youth work can make to youth employment Tomorrow’s Council of Ministers meeting will be asked to formally adopt two set of EU Council conclusions on: · Maximising the potential of youth policy in addressing the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy· Contribution of quality youth work to the development, well-being and social inclusion of young people The Minister added: “There is a rich and robust infrastructure of youth organisations, programmes and groups throughout Europe which actively support the participation, development and progression of young people. I believe the EU can do more to raise the profile of this important sector and to support Europe’s young people.” Tomorrow’s Council meeting will note the outcomes and conclusions of the EU-wide structured dialogue process which consulted with over 11,000 young people, culminating in the EU Youth Conference hosted by Minister Fitzgerald in March, attended by over 270 young people and policy-makers. A video on this process prepared by the Young Irish Filmmakers will be shown to the Council of Ministers. The meeting will also hear presentations from two experts in the youth field: Dr Massimiliano Mascherini, Research Manager, Eurofound, Dublin,Ireland; and Dr John Bamber, Centre for Effective Services, Dublin, Ireland, in relation to the current challenges European young people are facing and the possible solutions which youth work can offer. These presentations will informed the central question of the Ministerial debate which asked What immediate and practical actions can Youth Ministers take to harness the potential for quality youth work to better meet the present days challenges faced by Europe’s young people? Ends../”
I just read the press release issued by your department with confusion. My confusion is due to the fact that you are seeking EU agreement on a greater role for youth work in supporting youth work employment initiatives while at the same time your government has sanctioned widespread cuts across the whole youth sector. There have been quite a number of protests regarding this issue, right outside your place of work in fact, the Dail. Maybe you weren’t there the days these occurred?
Anyhow, I just thought I would alert you to the fact that your press release below might come across as slightly disingenuous to the many young people and youth workers who have found their services cut and closed in recent years and months. You might also want to include in your speech to the EU therefore, that while youth work is a potentially good place for supporting youth employment initiatives, there won’t be enough staff or services open to provide the services you are seeking.
The Social Work Action Network Ireland