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November 19, 2009

Improved Access to Work Placement Programme

Local Fianna Fáil TD and Convenor of the Oireachtas Enterprise Committee, Michael Fitzpatrick has confirmed that eligibility criteria of the Government’s Work Placement Programme are being relaxed from this December.

“This Programme is now aimed at providing nine months of work experience to 2,000 unemployed people, while they continue to maintain their social welfare entitlements.”

“The changes being introduced will improve the accessibility of the Programme by amending its eligibility criteria for both the participants and the firms providing the placements.”

“I know that the Minister for Labour, Dara Calleary has worked with the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD, on this initiative to maximise the effectiveness of the Programme giving participants the opportunity to gain valuable work experience.”

“The changes will allow for applications from recipients of most social welfare payments, including Job Seekers’ Allowance and Job Seekers’ Benefit. Unemployed graduates who are not receiving a social welfare payment will also now be eligible to apply including 2009 graduates. In addition, the period, for which participants have to be in receipt of a social welfare payment in order to be eligible, has been reduced from 6 months to 3 months.”

“The criteria for firms providing placements have also widened. The Programme will be open to all sectors of the economy including, the private, public, and now the community and voluntary sectors. The Department of Finance will issue a Circular in the coming weeks on the operation of the Programme in the public sector. The requirement for a firm to have at least 10 employees has been removed. Previously firms could only participate if they did not have redundancies in the previous 6 months. This constraint has been reduced to 3 months, if level of redundancies in the last three months was less than 5% of the workforce. The duration of the work placement has also been increased to a maximum of 9 months.”

“This  Programme  offers  jobseekers  and graduates  the  opportunity  to  gain  valuable  experience in their chosen field which is crucial in the current difficult economic environment. We need to get people out working, in training and in work placements like this where possible so that they can upskill, retrain and be ready for the upturn when it comes.”

“FÁS  will  continue  to  manage the Work Placement Programme and interested parties   should  revert  to  the  FÁS  website,,  for  further information or their local FÁS Employment Services offices or alternatively they can call the FÁS freephone number 1800 611 116,” concluded Deputy Fitzpatrick.