Whereas the arts strand of JobBridge was designed and brokered by the Arts Council, it is run by the JobBridge section of the Department of Social Protection with local authorities across the country. The gathering of statistics for the arts strand would, therefore, be a matter for that Department and the relevant local authorities.
I understand that when an extension of the JobBridge national internship scheme to provide for new internships in the arts sector was announced in April 2013, it was estimated that the initiative would provide up to 300 new places for arts practitioners through placements with local authorities. It is considered that this arts strand will continue to provide opportunities for those interested in careers in the arts, allowing them to gain hands-on experience and enhance their skills. The extension of the scheme will foster emerging talent in the arts and also support local arts groups in theatre, film, visual arts, dance, music, literature and more. This as an important development because it will help people take the first step towards a career in the arts. In this sector, there is a long tradition of new entrants working alongside established artists, performers, practitioners and arts administrators.
On the wider issue, there is a long history of internships, formal and informal, paid and unpaid, in the arts, as well as a culture of volunteerism, especially for seasonal programmes. For example, a local festival might use interns in its busiest period, typically in the run-up to and during the festival. Done the right way, this can make the festival better, increase community support and give the intern valuable experience. Many artists and arts administrators got their start as interns.