Deep cuts to education grants risk creating a future of long-term unemployment and poverty
Unemployment is one of the most personally and socially devastating consequences of the economic crisis, with 292,000 people now out of work and over 420,000 on the Live Register. The social welfare payments and employment supports provided by the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Education and Skills are a lifeline for those who have lost jobs, or who are searching for their first job. However, the system is under pressure due to increased demand and reducing resources. This means that people who are unemployed are also under pressure – social welfare rates are below the poverty line; people can only claim Jobseekers Benefit for a maximum of 9 months even though they may have been paying PRSI for many years; and at the end of 2011 it was estimated that there were 29 unemployed people for every job vacancy. With one in four children living in a jobless household, the effects of poverty and unemployment can carry on into the next generation.
While the unemployment figures are improving, many of the jobs that people are taking up are part time rather than full time, emigration is on the rise and rates of unemployment remain highest among those with a lower level of education. The unemployment rate for young people with only a primary education is 70%. Supporting young people and adults who have been failed by the education system in the past to access second chance education and/or training is essential. The cost of education at all levels can place a huge financial burden on families, both in and out of work, and can be a factor resulting in early school leaving. Deep cuts to training and education supports have made it harder for people who are out of work to take up education and training opportunities, and for parents to keep their children in school.
Access to education is vitally important if we are to tackle the situation where too many people face a future of long term unemployment or insecure, low paid work and poverty. We need you to support our campaign and Make Your Voice Heard so that instead of more cuts we see job creation, investment in our education system and hope for a positive future.