Focus Area 3

Access to Employment

In the next 5 years, we will significantly increase our support in the key areas of skills, internships, mentorships, training and pre-employment programmes to ensure all young people can access fulfilling employment.

Employment – ‘what you do’ – is a potent definer of who you are as a person.

It gives you status, focus and purpose. It gives you a sense of place among peers. It is fundamental to your survival, relationships, social life, physical and emotional health. It also makes you less likely to fall into debt or stress. People in work are also less likely to develop harmful addictions, experience depression and have increased life expectancy.

The problem our funding addresses


of Irish young people aged 18 to 24 are currently unemployed

The 2016 census showed


Population of young adults aged 19-24

Young people, aged 16 to 24,


as likely to be unemployed as all other age groups combined.

The harm it causes individuals

Unemployment has a massively negative impact on your quality of life, and on both your mental and physical health. It’s associated with high levels of stress, causing unhappiness, loss of self-esteem and depression. Financial difficulties and job insecurity are significant factors in depression, anxiety, stress and suicidal thoughts. The longer a person is unemployed, the greater the disadvantage they face in trying to secure work.

The cost of unemployment

In 2019 in Ireland, the estimated foregone total earnings of those not in employment, education or training was a staggering €3.24 billion. Despite this problem, there appears to be no coherent or effective policy approach in response to the pressing needs of young jobseekers in Ireland, particularly those who have yet to gain experience in the labour market.

The solution our funding provides

The Irish Youth Foundation will fund and support impactful initiatives that deliver measurable results.

In the period 2020 – 2025, we will:

Fund dynamic programmes and groups

that actively support young people aged 16 to 25, – those furthest from the labour market – to gain employment

Collaborate with youth groups and the business community

to 'match’ a young person’s skills and talents with internships, apprenticeships and other opportunities with a view to mainstreaming the programme in the long-term.

Support innovative thinking

in this area in order to reduce the numbers over time who are entering into the NEET (Not in Education, Employment and Training) category.