Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Department of Education and Skills
In November last year my Department issued a circular which permits schools to participate in the FÁS Work Placement Programme (WPP) if they so wish. This FÁS programme is intended to assist people who are unemployed to retain their skills levels and secure work experience that will assist them in finding employment. 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.
The WPP provides a mechanism for schools to offer placements to graduates and non-graduates from a wide variety of disciplines which has not existed up until now and offers 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.
Where a school chooses to participate in the scheme, the Department has determined that service which fulfils the requirements for achievement of probation in respect of registration as a primary school teacher with the Teaching Council may be utilised in achieving such registration.
In addition, my colleague Joan Burton TD, Minister for Social Protection, has announced "JobBridge", the national internship scheme. This will provide work experience placements for interns for a 6 or 9 month period. My Department is currently considering the possible extension of this initiative to schools.