Page last updated at 12:47 GMT, Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Educational assistance for young people

A DUP motion called on the employment minister to establish a working group to identify how further education for young people experiencing health, social and housing problems could be improved, on 6 March 2012.

The motion proposed that the group comprise of officials from the Department for Social Development, the Department of Health, South Eastern Regional College and the PSNI.

The DUP's Alex Easton said the time had come to "tackle the barriers of young people achieving their full potential".

"It is important that we as an assembly, with all the agencies, both statutory and those in the voluntary and community sector, help mitigate the impacts of adverse home life situations," he said.

"An unsustainable home life can impact upon the resilience and emotional health of young people and this has an impact on their educational outcome."

The Alliance party's Chris Lyttle presented his party's amendment, which proposed that the working group should come as part of the wider delivery mechanism to support the forthcoming's government strategy for young people not in employment, education or training (NEET).

Employment committee chair Basil McCrea said the committee welcomed the debate on this "important issue" but said some sort of structure was needed for its implementation, "or these people are consigned to the waste bin".

Sinn Fein's Fra McCann said he felt the motion was "restricted" as the Department of Education had not been included in the proposed working group.

Mr McCann also questioned why the South Regional College was the only further education institution to be included in the DUP's motion.

Mr Lyttle explained that his party's amendment mentioned a "wider delivery mechanism" which he claimed would include the Department of Education.

The amendment also replaced mention of the South Regional College with "all further education colleges".

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