The city’s economy has been severely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic which is now into its third lockdown over the last ten months
Said the Foyle MLA: “In 2020 we witnessed a social and economic crisis because of Covid 19 and Brexit.
“The northern economy will be under even greater pressure this year, with further job losses almost inevitable.
“A new and different approach is needed for those people, with no or low qualifications, to secure work.
“We must plan how we grow the economy and ensure the disadvantaged are not left behind.
“Sinn Féin wants to provide more people with the skills to gain meaningful employment, so they can provide for themselves and their families.
“A new skills strategy to develop enhanced careers advice, curriculum, training and apprenticeships, to enhance employability and economic growth, is a good start.
“But it must be even more ambitious and forward looking and radical to tackle regional inequalities.
“Sinn Féin sets out solutions to tackle regional inequalities and long-term unemployment. This policy looks at how we can support apprenticeships and job opportunities for those most in need.
“This will incentivise employers to play their part through investment and public contracts.
“The North has very high levels of low-paid jobs. 70% of our young people earn below the real living wage and many work in sectors hit hardest by the pandemic.
“Our young people are not reaching their full educational potential. Too many have left school without the skills to compete in the declining labour market.
“The curriculum leaves little room for skills development.
“These young people face further disadvantage, in an employment market demanding greater skills, as advances are made in digital technology.
“In Derry, we have the highest rates of 25-64 year-olds with low levels of qualifications, or none at all.
“We must invest in people’s futures, particularly those who are in, or at risk of, poverty and deprivation if we are to build a fair recovery.
“We need to address societal barriers to employment. These barriers include substance and/or alcohol abuse, severe trauma and mental health problems.
“We want people to escape the clutches of multiple deprivations in employment, income and health.
“A new employability framework, between the Executive, businesses, the trade unions, the community and voluntary sector and councils, would set a new trajectory. This could change our society for the better.
“Sinn Féin will bring forward a policy paper setting out how we envisage many of these issues being addressed.
“We will demonstrate how employment advances contribute to the development of a new Ireland.”Tags: