International Cashel conference to address youth unemployment

Sian Moloughney

Sian Moloughney

Representatives from eight European countries are in South Tipperary this week for a conference on tackling youth unemployment

Like-minded professionals from such countries as Wales, England, Netherlands, Poland, Latvia, Italy, Greece, Sweden, Croatia, Spain and Iceland, will join with Irish representatives to discuss and learn from the best practice in each other’s countries.

The three-day ‘Let’s Talk About Jobs’ seminar is being held in Dundrum House Hotel, starting today, Wednesday.

Donal Kelly, from the Tipperary Regional Youth Service, told The Nationalist that the aim of the event is to give those attending an overview of what structures are working to support young job-seekers. During the seminar participants will visit different organisations and the focus is on empowering, sharing experiences and partner finding.

This study visit will bring youth workers to Ireland from Europe to exchange practices and give them an overview how the local structures are working to support young job seekers and how different organisations are co-operating, including non-formal learning, the school sector, special youth work and the private sector.

Some of the areas the seminar hopes to examine are: mental health; ensuring a smooth transition from education to workplace; providing lifelong guidance for young people furthest from the labour market, denied access due to delay in entry into employment because lack of education, training, skills and capacity but also because of gender , age, status, membership of travelling community, and other risk factors associated with inequality; Ensuring safe and decent jobs for young people; understanding the ‘Disconnected Youth’ phenomenon in Europe and its economic and social costs; looking at actions to help disadvantaged young people who suffer more than most in times of economic downturn; exploring the global dimension of youth employment.

International speakers at the seminar will include Lena Sehlberg from Sweden who will speak on the Swedish experience, and Jo Cocker from St Peter’s Partnerships Manchester will speal about what works in Manchester.

Many of those addressing the group will be local experts in youth development, including Donal Kelly of TRYS, coordinator of the Work Winner project, who will focus on entry into the workplace and obstacles young people face, and Ellen O’Donnell from Clonmel Youth Training Centre.

Speakers from South Tipperary VEC will be Tom Ryan of the Adult Guidance in Education Service and Eileen Condon who will look at the Irish education system, Youth Reach and the role of the VEC.

Other topics to be covered include the effects of unemployment on mental health by Dr. Fergus Heffernan and Irish student Mairead Maher will speak about her experiences of 12 months in Finland on EVS, and living on €30 a week.

Participants will visit Dunhill Eco Park, Clonmel Youth Training Enterprises Limited, FRC and the Rock of Cashel. There will also be introduced to Irish traditional music in the night time through local musicians and an ‘exchanging of cultures evening.’