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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 22 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 25/11/2020 - 10:53

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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectorial cooperation


There are no specific arrangements for the governance of youth employment. Conditions are set by general employment legislation and the health of the labour market. However, specific employment programmes for young people do exist.


Responsibility for employment policies is devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive. Technically, social security, child support and pension policy are devolved matters; however, Northern Ireland tends to adopt the policy set by the UK Government, in order to provide greater consistency across the UK. An element of the 2015 Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan allows for Northern Irish legislation to implement the welfare changes introduced under the UK Parliament's Welfare Reform Act 2012. Policies relating to entrepreneurship (careers, skills, etc.) are also devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive. 

The Department for the Economy (DfE) has a wide range of responsibilities, including:

  • economic policy
  • employment and skills programmes (including apprenticeships)
  • energy
  • further and higher education
  • employment rights
  • consumer affairs
  • European fund management
  • telecoms
  • tourism
  • insolvency service
  • minerals and petroleum
  • credit unions and societies
  • statistics and economic research.

The department was created on 9 May 2016 to replace the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment. It also took on the responsibilities of the dissolved Department for Employment and Learning. 

The Department of Education (DE) is responsible for the central administration of all aspects of education and related services in Northern Ireland, except the higher and further education sectors. The main areas of responsibility for the DE are in pre-school, primary, post-primary and special education; the youth service; the promotion of community relations within and between schools; and teacher education and salaries. 

The functions of the Department for Communities, which was also created in early 2016, include housing, community and voluntary sector development, urban regeneration, social legislation, sport and culture. It took on the roles and responsibilities of the former Departments: for Social Development; of Employment and Learning; of Enterprise, Trade and Investment; of Culture, Arts and Leisure; of the Environment; and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

Cross-sectorial cooperation

There is no specific mechanism for cooperation on matters of youth employment and entrepreneurship policy. General mechanisms which may be used include Executive sub-committees, task forces and inquiries.