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Policy is driving a 'brain drain' here

I would like to draw people's attention to the inherent flaws in the Fas Work Placement Programme (WPP), which the Government has not been backwards in praising.

I am a recent graduate who cannot find work in Ireland and thought I would avail of this apparently worthwhile opportunity to gain valuable work experience while looking for a job here in Ireland.

I believe that at a time of financial crisis it is important that the educated should stay in Ireland and work in the hope that it will lead to forms of innovation which will help us see us through the recession.

My opinion on this matter is gradually being undermined by the Government's inept policies. Having approached many companies and educational institutions, I have lined up work experience in a national university where I would, effectively, work for free. In exchange for my work, I hoped I would get to keep my current jobseeker's allowance (which I will remain on for the foreseeable future, given the lack of job opportunities).

However, I was told by FAS that this was not allowed as the internship was in the public sector and that the majority of the public sector is not covered by the scheme due to a "double funding" issue.

Yet the only remuneration I would receive is my current jobseeker's allowance and absolutely nothing from the public sector institution involved.

This is a huge oversight by the Government and an opportunity missed to pick the enlightened minds of Ireland's most educated and brightest.

It is also a missed opportunity to reduce the public sector backlogs at no extra cost to the Government, as many of the eligible candidates are likely to remain on social welfare benefits for the duration of the WPP.

I graduated from NUIG in the top 20-25pc of my course and I graduated top of my class from one the UK's top three universities.

Now, after receiving this ridiculous news from FAS, I am considering moving abroad to look for work and I urge other graduates to do the same because clearly our Government does not feel we will be needed in the future. At least, that is how they're treating us.

At this point , I think a brain drain is the only option for young graduates like myself, given that the Irish Government is willing to pay me to remain at home doing nothing, but not to be of assistance and help to my country.

Policy decisions such as these will ensure that we become the lost generation.

Lisa Underwood
Killinick, Co Wexford

Irish Independent