Published: Wed, 20 January 2016
Seán Kelly MEP and leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament today backed an EU report calling for more flexible education systems that can be adapted to equip young people with the knowledge and skills, including entrepreneurship, to meet the needs of the labour market.
“The percentage of unemployed persons below the age of 25 in Ireland fell to 19.4pc in November 2015, the first time it dipped below 20 percent since 2009. That’s down from a high of 30.9pc in early 2012, so the Irish government is making good progress on this issue, but more needs to be done,” Mr Kelly said in Strasbourg today (Tuesday).
“EU-wide, Ireland is faring better than the EU youth unemployment average of 20pc (or 22.5pc in the Eurozone), according to the latest Eurostat figures for November 2015.
“Today, I voted in favour of a European Parliament report Skills policies for fighting youth unemployment which favours an emphasis on education, SMEs and entrepreneurship, and getting the conditions right for employment,” Mr Kelly said.
The Ireland South MEP particularly welcomed the report’s support for Entrepreneurship being promoted at school level. Mr Kelly has been vocal in his calls for entrepreneurship to be added to the school curriculum so students can learn practical business skills, and be inspired to start their own companies by learning directly from local entrepreneurs through a mentorship programme.
The parliamentary report adds that education and training providers should work with business people to devise qualifications which reflect the skills needed in today’s business environment.
“Importantly, this report highlights as essential the role of competent and supportive teachers and trainers in reducing early school leaving, especially in underdeveloped areas, and in improving the employability of young people”, Mr Kelly concluded.