Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle said; “The motion supported by the SDLP & UUP was flawed and outdated but most importantly misled young people on the much needed work experience and job opportunities made available to them by the Northern Ireland Youth Employment Scheme.
“The SDLP & UUP called on the Minister for Employment to bid for £26m from the UK Government Youth Contract Initiative in order to deliver a similar scheme in Northern Ireland. They either have their heads in the sand or know fine well, that Minister Farry launched a £30m Youth Employment Scheme for Northern Ireland with a further £10 million for tackling NEETs over the next three years. The Youth Employment Scheme has a three strand approach including; work experience, training and full time employment opportunities for out of work young people with associated travel and childcare costs and a £5000 subsidy for employers in September of this year.
“To play politics with an issue as serious as youth unemployment shows that the UUP are misleading the public. The majority of MLAs are hugely concerned by the impact of the global economic downturn on people in Northern Ireland and the Minister for Employment has taken serious action to deliver a much needed and targeted employment intervention for young people.
“I would encourage all young people seeking employment and employers aiming to recruit skilled workers to contact the Department of Employment & Learning for more information about how the Youth Employment Scheme can help them.”