Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Department of Education and Science
Work Placement Programme
Seán Haughey (Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Dublin North Central, Fianna Fail)
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My Department recently issued circular 66/2010 which permits schools to participate in the Work Placement Programme if they so wish. The Work Placement Programme is intended to assist people who are unemployed to develop their skills levels and secure work experience that will assist them in finding employment. The programme provides a mechanism for schools to offer placements to graduates and non-graduates from a wide variety of disciplines and provides an opportunity for schools to access skills and experience which may otherwise be unavailable. The individuals on placement will, in turn, have the opportunity to utilise and develop their own skills. This involves a placement for a defined period, rather than employment, and participants in this voluntary programme may be entitled to maintain their social welfare entitlements subject to the rules of the Department of Social Protection.
Schools may offer placements to teachers registered with the Teaching Council. Where a registered teacher is engaged he or she may undertake normal teaching duties if the school authority considers this appropriate and can make suitable arrangements. Schools may also use the programme to engage people in non-teaching roles, where non-teaching graduates and non-graduates may have valuable skills from which a school could benefit. It is a condition of the programme that any placements must not displace an existing member of staff or be used to fill a vacant post. This includes substitute vacancies. These conditions safeguard future employment opportunities in the education sector. In addition, the Government has also decided to expand the number of placements offered under the Work Placement Programme. The number of places on the programme will be increased from the current 2,000 to 7,500 in 2011, with 5,000 of the additional placements being offered in the public sector