It is no surprise that youth unemployment was highlighted by every major party in the lead up to the May elections. After all, 8-million potential voters under 35 years of age have no jobs. There was, of course, the usual talk of improving our skills base and growing the economy to create more jobs. This rhetoric continued in the state of the nation address (Sona) delivered last week, in which growing the economy was a central focus.

However, the reality is that the creation of jobs alone will not solve our youth unemployment crisis. More encouraging were suggestions both in the manifesto and in Sona of immediate interventions that could significantly improve the prospects of young people in the short term by tackling the structural barriers that keep them isolated from opportunity...

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