First Minister Peter Robinson said "it must be a cause for concern" that so many young people were passing through the education system without the qualifications necessary to find a good job, on 14 January 2013.
He was replying to a question from the UUP leader, Mike Nesbitt, on how the Social Investment Fund could be used to target educational underachievement among Protestant working class boys.
Mr Nesbitt observed that the matter had been to the fore at a recent meeting of the unionist forum on Belfast's Newtownards Road.
Stewart Dickson of Alliance wanted reassurance that the Social Investment Fund would not be seen as "a reward for violence".
"It will be a rigorous process as it would be for any government spend," the first minister replied.
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson was asked by the SDLP's Colum Eastwood on help for businesses that have suffered losses due to the recent flag protests.
Mr Wilson criticised the SDLP for backing the decision to restrict the flying of the union flag on Belfast City Hall to designated days.
It was, he said, "a very bad decision that didn't have to be made in the first instance".
The minister said there might be some scope for help for businesses involved in the "night-time economy".
Mr Eastwood urged Mr Wilson to consider the matter with a sense of urgency.
"If these thing go on any longer a lot of them are going to go out of business," he said.