The Department of Social & Family Affairs is to write to more than 50,000 young people on the Live Register to urge them to improve their education.

The mailshot will advise people aged between 18 and 25 of the options available to them to improve their education, skills and qualifications.

The department says some young people may have opted out of education and training opportunities when the draw of high wages during the boom years was irresistible.

It says such people are now more likely to remain unemployed if they are not actively up-skilling and gaining new expertise.

The department will inform them of options to up-skill.

The mailshot will point jobseekers to VECs and adult education courses operated by third-level colleges.

It will also outline allowances that can be claimed by people who return to education.

Minister Mary Hanafin says there is no real disincentive for jobseekers to improve their education but says people will not be punished if they do not.