NUS-USI President Adrianne Peltz has welcomed the announcement of a new allowance for young people not in education, employment or training who are taking part in European Social Fund projects. She said, however, that the provision of this allowance does not give the Department for Employment and Learning an excuse to cut Education Maintenance Allowance as it plays a pivotal role in encouraging young people not in education, employment or training into study.
Adrianne Peltz said: “This is positive news and I hope that this funding helps encourage more young people to get involved in European Social Fund projects.
“This will be the first generation of young people to face a worse situation than their parents did at their age, and action like the creation of this allowance is very important. It is also very important that EMA is not cut, because it could have a devastating impact on efforts to assist young people not in education, employment or training.
“I sincerely hope that the introduction of this scheme is not used by government to provide an excuse to cut EMA, as this would be grossly unfair. Our young people must not become a lost generation due to government cuts.
“The cuts proposed in the consultation on EMA would see many students left with no support. Cuts like these could force many to quit their studies and seek a job without being able to complete their training.
“Youth unemployment is rising and I believe that radical action like the announcement of this training allowance is very encouraging. Government must not however play this scheme off against EMA and must not use it as an excuse to cut EMA.”