Jobseekers will get €50-a-week dole top-up to take internships
THE Government will pay an unemployed person a €50-a-week top-up to leave the dole queue and get work experience.
A National Internship Scheme offering 5,000 places -- each for up to nine months -- for people currently on the Live Register is a key element of the new Jobs Initiative.
The internships will be in the public, private and community sectors and are open to both graduates and non-graduates, with a view to enhancing their employability.
The scheme, sponsored by the Department of Social Protection, has been welcomed by the employers' group IBEC and the Union of Students in Ireland.
The internships will be advertised on a website administered by the state training agency FAS, and those interested will apply directly to the employer, after the July launch.
The €50 top-up to the Jobseeker's Allowance is a recognition of the expenses, such as travel costs, that a participating intern will incur.
Under the scheme, a person on the standard Jobseeker's Allowance will receive €238-a-week, while the maximum weekly payment for a married jobseeker with two children will be €422.40.
The internship programme is one of the main components in the Government's drive to get people working.
A total of 20,900 additional places in training, education and work experience are being offered and all the other schemes are being provided by the Department of Education.
Their focus covers the spectrum from early school-leavers to holders of a PhD, none of whom have escaped the belt of the current jobs crisis.
None of the various programmes are a guarantee of a job, but they are aimed at ensuring that the unemployed have updated skills and experience.
The new jobless, with qualifications ranging from the Leaving Cert to masters degrees, who are experiencing unemployment for the first time in their lives, are a key target.
The continuity of employment enjoyed in some sectors has changed in the current crisis and there is recognition that, for many, re-entry to the workforce will require upskilling or reskilling.
Under a higher education programme called Springboard, they can go to college on a part-time basis, without losing social welfare benefits. It will provide 5,900 places on courses from certificate to masters level, geared to areas of the economy where jobs are being created.
Sectors identified for jobs growth include medical devices, information and communications technology, food and beverages and green energy.
It is being coordinated by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and is the first such initiative tailored to people who already have a third-level qualification and/or lengthy experience in the workforce.
Other initiatives are:
- 3,000 extra places on the Back to Education Initiative to allow early school-leavers to develop basic skills in areas such as numeracy and IT.
- 6,000 extra places in the FAS Specific Skills Training programme in areas such as engineering, information technol- ogy, office and administration, sales, marketing and clothing.
- 1,000 extra places on Post Leaving Cert courses, offering a wide range of vocational training for school-leavers and adults returning to education.
Irish Vocational Education Association general secretary Michael Moriarty and the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) welcomed the extra places on the Back to Education scheme.