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Armstrong disappointed Jobstart scheme delayed again

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said she is disappointed and frustrated the planned roll out of the Jobstart scheme has again been delayed.

Due to launch on December 14, the initiative – aimed at helping local employers support young people aged 16-24 – is long overdue in Northern Ireland.

The Alliance Party’s Communities Spokesperson, Kellie said it was unacceptable that while the rest of the UK has been benefiting from this scheme, young people in Northern Ireland had been ignored.

She added: “I’m really not sure what the Department is playing at. From July the Department has been aware of the roll out in other parts of the UK, yet this excuse that it is somehow being improved for used in Northern Ireland loses value the move time that passes.

“Young people have gone from expecting an enhanced scheme to wondering if and when any sort of support will be made available for them.

“In recent weeks the Minister told the Committee the delay was simply due to the two week circuit breaker – if this was true then it should have been ready to run on December 14, not facing more and more delay.

“Young people have suffered enough this year. It is time the Department outlined what the problems are, detailed how many employers have been engaged to provide employment opportunities and got things going before too many young people slip through the cracks.”