Travelling through the County of Kerry you notice stunning countryside, quaint towns and beautiful ocean views – what you don’t see on the surface is the massive youth unemployment, underemployment and low wages. The Republic of Ireland is part of the EU and has seen an influx of Eastern Europeans. This occurred when Ireland was experiencing an upswing, the “Celtic Tiger” – but like all upswings there is the crash that follows, resulting in high unemployment and extremely high youth unemployment.
IELLEN staff member, Tracey Fenton recently met with the major provider of Youth Services in the County Kerry Dioceses Youth Services. KDYS provides welfare, education, youth justice, family and health services. Demand outweighs the ability to deliver, funding models are changing, and competitive tendering is becoming more common (Sound familiar?). Meanwhile, now summer, many KDYS clients have commenced holidays or finished their programs. Tracey met with a group who were commencing a week’s practical placement (not unlike SWL, except the young people are part of KDYS education services). These young people felt that participating in this program would give them better opportunities for employment and start them on a career path. The main areas of employment for them are wholesale, retail and tourism – agriculture is also a large employer but is seasonal.
Tracey concluded that KDYS provides great services and meets the needs of their local populations. “If this service is any indication of what Ireland delivers, then young people will be provided with a supportive base to commence the next phases of their lives”.