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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.6 Integration of young people in the labour market

On this page
  1. Youth employment measures
  2. Flexicurity measures focusing on young people
  3. Reconciliation of private and working life for young people
  4. Funding of existing schemes/initiatives
  5. Quality assurance


Youth employment measures

A number of youth employment measures were established related to commitments in the Youth Guarantee. These include:

  • Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS)
  • JobsPlus for Youth
  • Tús
  • Employment and Youth Activation Charter  


The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS)

The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) is a work experience placement programme which is specifically targeted at young jobseekers aged 18-24 years of age who are long-term unemployed or who face barriers to employment. 


The YESS aims to provide jobseekers with the opportunity to learn basic work and social skills in a supportive environment while on a work placement. Over 400 young job seekers have participated in YESS to date. 


JobsPlus Youth

JobsPlus is an employer incentive which encourages employers to offer employment to jobseekers on the Live Register who have been out of work by giving employers cash incentives.


Under the Youth Guarantee the qualifying period for jobseekers to avail of JobsPlus for those aged under 25 has been reduced from 12 months to 4 months. It is envisaged that this initiative will support additional jobs for those under 25 yerars with high barriers to employment.

JobPlus was extended in 2020, in response to Covid-19. The Government announced under the July Jobs Stimulus that 8,000 recruitment subsidies of up to €7,500 over 2 years will be available for employers to hire someone aged under 30 who is on the Live Register or getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.


Community Employment Schemes

Community Employment (CE) schemes provide part-time temporary work in their local communities, including opportunities for training and development as a stepping-stone back to employment, for people in receipt of a range of social welfare payments, including those on a long-term jobseeker’s payment. The general qualifying age for CE for those on the Live Register was reduced from 25 to 21 years in 2017.  



Tús is a community work placement scheme for unemployed people who are selected to participate by the Department of Social Protection. The Youth Guarantee made provision for an increase in places for longer-term unemployed youth by reserving 1,000 Tús placements for 18- to 24-year-olds in 2014.


Employment and Youth Activation Charter 

The Employment and Youth Activation Charter was launched in 2014 as part of the Youth Guarantee commitments. Employers who sign this Charter commit that at least 50% of candidates considered for interview will be taken from the Live Register. Employers also implement a selection of measures which seek to prime those who are out of work to take up jobs.


Vocational Training and Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)

The Vocational Training and Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) provides a range of courses to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people. To be eligible for the scheme, participants must be over 21 years of age, unemployed and getting certain social welfare payments for at least six months. The scheme is aimed in particular at unemployed people who are early school-leavers.


The aim of the scheme is to gives participants opportunities to improve their general level of education, gain certification, develop their skills and prepare for employment, self-employment and further education and training. VTOS is operated through local Education and Training Boards.  



The Youthreach programme provides opportunities for early school leavers in terms of basic education, personal development, vocational training and work experience. Learners can gain Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) qualifications that are equal to the Junior and Applied Leaving Certificate. Learners can also progress to other skills training such as apprenticeship courses.   


Skills for Life Employment Support Scheme The Skills for Life Employment Support Scheme is aimed at young people aged between 18 and 24 years who want to train with the Irish Defence Forces. The scheme gives participants an opportunity to learn new skills and gain qualifications that will help them to pursue further education or to enter the workforce. The scheme runs over a ten week period.


Youth Employability Initiative

The Youth Employability Initiative is a fund of up to €1 million which aims provide funding to voluntary youth services to support programmes that target young people to improve their employability and achieve career goals. The initiative is supported by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) and funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund which is overseen by the Department of Rural and Community Development. Funding of the initiative is delivered by local Education and Training Boards.


Flexicurity measures focusing on young people

Flexicurity is an integrated strategy for enhancing both flexibility and security in the labour market. 


A 2016 report on the Flexicurity System in Ireland found that ‘the flexicurity system is not operating as it should in Ireland and there seems to be very little political impetus to change the status quo.’ In addition, ‘in relation to the requirement of a modern social welfare system, it is quite clear that the Irish system, in its current format, is not designed to promote the ideals of the flexicurity system.’ 


Reconciliation of private and working life for young people

In Ireland, there is no legislation that allows employees to apply for flexible working arrangements. Flexible working arrangements are usually at the discretion of the employer.


However, the Civil Service in Ireland does operate flexible work arrangements. These include:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Work sharing
  • Shorter working year scheme for civil servants
  • Career breaks
  • Special Incentive Career Break Scheme for Civil Servants
  • E-Working and teleworking


Guidance for employers on part-time work is set out in The Code of Practice on Access to Part-Time Work. It sets out the opportunities, range of jobs and policies expected to improve access to part-time work. 


The rights of part-time employees are covered under the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001.


Funding of existing schemes/initiatives

The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) is co-funded by the Irish Government, the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020. The Department of Social Protection allocated €5m to the Youth Employment Support Scheme in 2019, which it is projected will support approximately 1,000 young jobseekers.


Quality assurance

As part of the Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS), a designated case officer liaises with the jobseeker and Host throughout the period of the placement, to monitor how well it is progressing for both parties and provide appropriate advice/support. 


This includes a formal review meeting after two months, which facilitates the case officer in deciding whether to approve a request for an extension of the duration to six months. 


YESS also identifies learning and development outcomes for each placement. These include both soft employability skills and hard skills acquired and/or demonstrated during the placement. The host organisation completes an assessment for the participant at the end of the placement.