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Scheme that has created eight internships will cost €16 million

The government is hoping to create 5,000 internships from the scheme which was launched two weeks ago and insists it is happy with the progress so far.

Image: *_Abhi_* via Creative Commons

Updated 2.10pm

THE GOVERNMENT’S MUCH heralded national internship scheme has created eight job placements in the first two weeks of its existence it has been reported.

Despite the figures the Department of Social Protection told TheJournal.ie today that it welcomes the level of response to the scheme so far and corrected the figure of €20 million that it is being reported the scheme will cost in today’s Sunday Independent.

The paper reports that of the 65 people who have been selected to take part in Job Bridge, only 27 have been eligible and of those only eight have actually started internships. It says the Department has been inundated with companies and councils seeking to take part in the scheme but very few of those receiving social welfare are actually applying for positions in the scheme.

However, the Department said in a statement to TheJournal.ie that it is estimated the scheme will cost €3m in 2011 and €13m in a full year. This covers the cost of the €50 weekly allowance which will be paid to interns participating in the scheme.

The statement added:

The Department of Social Protection welcomes the level of response to the scheme; up to last Friday some 700 internship places had been advertised on www.jobbridge.ie. It was always expected that the first internships would commence a number of weeks after Job Bridge opened.

This is to allow time for organisations to apply via the dedicated website to offer internship opportunities, for individuals to apply for them and for the selection process between organisations and potential interns to take place.

The government launched Jobs Bridge just over two weeks ago with the aim of creating 5,000 internship placements for unemployed people across the country and across various sectors.

Participants are required to have been on the live register for at least three months before applying and get €50 per week while undertaking a three to nine month long placement.

Poll: Is it right to offer unpaid internships? >

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Hugh O'Connell

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