SOCIAL Protection Minister Joan Burton has revealed that, like former X Factor star Mary Byrne, working on a checkout led to greater things.
Speaking to a group of young people who had been on the dole and were were hired by Tesco, she also revealed that she had worked in bars in the Mosney holiday camp in Meath – which has since been turned into a centre for asylum seekers.
Ms Burton was speaking at a graduation ceremony for 36 young people who were taken on by supermarket giant Tesco for six-week courses in retail or warehouse training. They were allowed to hold on to their social welfare payments and 11 of them were subsequently hired by Tesco.
Ms Burton said she had previously worked as a checkout assistant in Dunnes Stores during her student days.
"Retail was a great experience for a huge number of people, either during the holidays or for a period of time after they left school," she said. The young people who completed the training courses were picked from the live register by Ms Burton's department to work in Tesco's in Donaghmede and Cabra in Dublin.
Tesco is to take in 100 more people in the courses next year in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. Dublin-based fruit company Keelings is also coming on board.
Ms Burton said she wanted the country to copy the successful "dual system" in Austria and Germany, where 15-16 year-old school pupils are offered part-time training and work experience in companies.