It has been a difficult week for Ireland Inc on the jobs front.
Two days ago, with great fanfare, Ciarán Cannon, the Minister for Training and Skills, delivered the opening address at the European Social Fund (ESF) Conference at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin., Ireland. The Conference was themed ‘The ESF Contribution to Labour Market Activation’ which in layman terms examined how the member countries of the EU intended spending EU Social Fund money to get more of the burgeoning numbers of the unemployed all over the EU back to work.
Minister Cannon said: “This conference is very important and timely. With high unemployment levels across Europe, it is pertinent for us as policy makers to consider how the European Social Fund can assist us in upskilling and educating unemployed people, particularly young people, so that they gain sustainable employment.’ He also reiterated the EU’s determination to focus on the long-term unemployed, youth and those at highest risk of social exclusion and to provide citizens from disadvantaged groups with the skills to improve their employment prospects.
Today, by contrast, the CSO released figures that showed that for the first time in over a year the number of people at work in the Ireland rose by 20,500 in the first quarter of 2013. A slight decrease in the number of unemployed, yes, but unfortunately most of the growth in new jobs was in part-time, temporary and temporary jobs. Mores the pity really.
Meantime, in an unfortunate parallel to the ESF Conference in Dublin, figures for the youth unemployment rate in Europe were published yesterday also. They make for some very worrying and sobering reading.
Youth (under 25 years of age) unemployment is soaring in the EU member countries with the most difficult economic challenges. In Spain the rate of youth unemployment is over 55%, just as it is in Greece. In Italy, Slovakia and Portugal it is over 34% and In Ireland the youth unemployment rate is over 30%. By contrast in germany, the powerhouse of Europe, the youth unemployment rate is only 7.6%. Across Europe some 24% of those under 25 years of age are unemployed. Very many of those do not have the skills necessary to apply for the many skilled jobs that are available across the EU, nor indeed do many of them have the necessary motivation or opportunity to upskill themselves.
As if this were not enough, the rate of general unemployment across the EU member states has risen in 19 member states and fallen in eight during the past year. Spain’s unemployment alone rose to 26.3% in February, up 2.4% on the same period last year,
No question, the rising unemployment rate is possibly the single most difficult challenge that the EU zone faces today. Whole communities are on their knees, businesses are closing and emigration, to an uncertain future is all that remains. Not since the end of WW2 has Europe seen such social disruption and such negative economic growth.
At icanwork4u.com we are doing our little bit to help get people back to work in the EU and especially in Ireland. Take a look at our website http://www.icanwork4u.com and see what we are trying to achieve, putting employers and potential employees on the same map together.
If you have a skill and need work, no matter if it is full or part-time, seasonal or contract, icanwork4u is certainly one website you should list your availability and skills on.
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Please pass on the word about our website and our mission, to get people working locally, easier and faster, to all your friends and contacts. I hope it reaches Ciarán Cannon’s desk.