How can society help those with no work but plenty of time to feel more fulfilled?

A full-time volunteer in his community in Arklow Michael McCarthy says that job fulfilment can be found in other ways. It was a big change to go from working full time to being unemployed after fourteen years working as an electrician.

A presenter on the local radio station, he has also had a longstanding involvement with Arklow Youth Club. Being unemployed need not be such a negative experience as the whole community benefits from volunteering, 

There’s fulfilment to be got out of this, a great amount of satisfaction, feeling that you’re helping somebody.

With Ireland in the grip of economic recession, the future looks bleak for school children. This may not necessarily be the case if they learn how to use their spare time constructively.

Michael McCarthy believes that state employment training agencies such as AnCo (An Chomhairle Oiliúna) could have a hugely positive impact on the lives of the unemployed if they changed their focus,

Money could be much more usefully employed in the development of community development organisations...to cater for these people, to help them to use their time.

Fr John Sweeney SJ (Society of Jesus) from the Jesuit Centre For Faith And Justice says that the government needs to support people who are unemployed, and using existing structures is the best way to do this,

Local and community groups have pride of place...centralised agencies like AnCo...must be in a background supportive role.

Organising society to support and encourage those who have free time on their hands to do something with it, instead of making them reliant on benefits. This will take longer to achieve but is a better way forward, says sociologist Cyril White, as, 

Handing out money on the dole is the easy way out.

Life after school needs to be approached in a realistic way believes teacher Arthur Dunne, and the education system can help broach this subject. 

Young people need to be aware that even if they spent periods without work after school, a challenging time such as unemployment can present opportunities for them, instead of being something to fear,

Unless we start becoming very positive about the opportunity there is in working without being paid for it... the youngsters are going to suffer.

This episode of 'Radharc : Coping With Unemployment : Work Without Wages’ was broadcast on 14 March 1985.