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Department’s three-month extension for fixed-contract Youth Workers welcomed

JANUARY 21, 2020

Department of Education confirms more than one hundred fixed-term youth workers will have their contracts extended to the end of June 2017. Political parties now need to agree re-establishment of a functioning Executive to secure vital public services.

Unite Regional Officer, Taryn Trainor, has welcomed the confirmation by the Department of Education that will extend the contracts of more than one hundred fixed-term Youth Service workers from the beginning of April to the end of June 2017:

“Youth services play a vital role in our society, particular in the most socially deprived areas, through supporting young people transition from childhood to adulthood. These services are vital in addressing the challenges associated with high youth unemployment, unprecedented rates of suicide and poor youth mental health that support services.

“Unfortunately the political hiatus that followed the RHI scandal has meant no budget was agreed by the Executive parties for the coming year.

“As a result, more than one hundred fixed-term workers faced redundancy from the beginning of April 2017. Some of these workers have been working in fixed-term or rolling contracts needing an annual authorisation for up to seventeen years.

“Unite has been strongly advocating on behalf of our members who are in this situation in the Youth Service sector. We have met repeatedly with local political parties and Department officials to make the case for bridging funding to guarantee these positions. Only three days ago our Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly wrote to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire MP, to ask he intervene to address this issue.

“We therefore welcome today’s Department of Education commitment to extend funding and the contracts of fixed-term youth workers to the end of June. While this is only a short-term reprieve, this gives some assurance for the future in the context of the current political talks. The onus now falls on the local political parties to agree the re-establishment of a functioning Executive which can agree a budget underpinning vital services such as youth work”, Ms Trainor finished.

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