Written answers

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Department of Social Protection

Employment Support Services

9:00 pm

Photo of Maureen O'SullivanMaureen O'Sullivan (Dublin Central, Independent)
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Question 303: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the number of recent graduates who have availed of JobBridge internships since its inception; if JobBridge will consider targeting those most at risk of emigration; if any statistics are available to show the impact JobBridge has on the employment status of recent graduates; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7631/12]

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, came into operation on 1st July 2011. As of 7th February, a total of 4,588 internships have commenced. Of the 4,588 internships that have commenced, some 2,187 of these positions were advertised as requiring a third level qualification.

The National Internship Scheme provides internship opportunities of either 6 or 9 months for unemployed individuals on the Live Register, in organisations in the private, public and community voluntary sectors. The scheme is limited to individuals who are currently on the Live Register and have been in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance/Benefit or are signing on for credits for at least 3 of the last 6 months.

Given the scale of the unemployment crisis, the key objective of labour market policy and of the NEAP will be to keep those on the Live Register close to the Labour Market and prevent the drift into long-term unemployment. This will ensure that Live Register members availing of activation measures such as the National Internship Scheme will, while retaining social welfare unemployment payments and a top up allowance of €50, get an opportunity to engage in the workplace, get work experience and so be in a position to avail of employment opportunities as the economy improves.

For these reasons, it has been proposed as a matter of public policy that eligibility for the scheme be confined to those on the Live Register and in receipt of unemployment payments or signing for credits for 3 of the last 6 months. As such, the policy objective is to prioritise scarce resources on those on the Live Register so as to increase their chances of leaving it thereby ensuring a reduction in Exchequer costs over time but I will keep the position under review.

My Department has invited tenders for consultancy for the evaluation of JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme for the Department. Progression rates from JobBridge into employment will feature as part of this evaluation. It is anticipated that this evaluation will commence shortly.

My Department requires this project to be undertaken to assess the design, delivery and impact of the JobBridge scheme on the unemployed. It should also assist the Department in making further policy decisions on the benefit of work placement programmes in the overall context of the Government’s activation policy which is to engage with every unemployed individual to provide them with a pathway to employment and to prevent and reduce long term unemployment.

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