At present there are 415 young people on apprenticeship programmes in Mayo.
According to James Doorley, National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI ) Deputy Director: "We need increased investment in Budget 2020 to support more young people into an apprenticeship and a range of other employment and training measures to reduce long-term youth unemployment.
That was the message from Doorley, speaking in at the publication of the organisation’s pre-budget submission last week. In its pre-budget 2020 submission - 'A Fair Share for Young People and Youth Work' the NYCI, which represents youth organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide, is calling for an overall investment of €14.9million in education, training and apprenticeships to halve long-term youth unemployment by the end of 2020.
Doorley continued: "Census 2016 indicates that our population aged 10-24 years will increase to over one million by 2025, so we need to invest in policies, services and supports to meet the needs of young people today, while preparing for demographic pressures in the coming years.
"We welcome job growth in the Irish economy and the consistent trend of reduced youth unemployment. However we are concerned that the youth unemployment rate is still over 10 per cent and that almost 6,000 young people are long-term unemployed (for 12 months or more ).
"We have costed a number of education, training and employment measures which, if implemented, could halve the number long term unemployed by the end of 2020."
Among the measures proposed is an investment of €2.5m in an Access to Apprenticeship programme. “We welcome the expansion and growth in apprenticeships in the last number of years. The number of apprentices in training in 2019 was 16,000 up from 10,445 in 2016 driven by a 110 per cent increase in the number of new entrants between 2013 and 2018" added Doorley.
He continued saying: " We support the overall Government commitment to increase the number of new apprentices, but more needs to be done to open up apprenticeships to young women, young people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and young people who are economically and socially disadvantaged and those who have limited formal qualifications.
"At present only two per cent of apprentices are young women and 2.8 per cent have a disability. There is no data available on other categories such as young people who are socially and economically disadvantaged or those from a minority ethnic background.
"As we expand the number and range of apprenticeships, it is vital that these opportunities remain open to all young people, especially disadvantaged and under represented groups. At present the Government provides no funding to targeted measures to improve access to apprenticeships."