The ‘Pathways to Work’ plan which was published today by the Government has the potential to deliver certain opportunities for young people but must be developed in tandem with a broader apprenticeship system in order to cultivate viable, long-term, career prospects, according to SIPTU Vice-President, Patricia King. The plan involves the implementation of the EU Council recommendation for a Youth Guarantee. “A properly funded apprenticeship scheme is the only way to properly address the youth unemployment crisis. It would offer career opportunities in areas such as hospitality, childcare, administration and the green economy through an expanded ‘on the job’ and classroom apprenticeship system as proposed in the recent review sponsored by the Department of Education. “There must be joined-up action by government departments to ensure apprenticeships form a real part of the range of options proposed by social welfare officers to young people who avail of the Youth Guarantee,” she said.Under the government proposals, young people will receive an offer under the Youth Guarantee of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of contact with the new INTREO/social welfare offices in 2014.“Again we believe that the apprenticeship option offers the best long-term prospects for young people seeking sustainable employment and career progression. The additional financial commitment envisaged in this scheme would be best met by providing a comprehensive apprenticeship programme. We believe this would also have the support of the relevant employers,” she said.