The National Internship Scheme was launched on 1st July 2011. It provides internship opportunities of either 6 or 9 months for unemployed individuals at all skills levels. The aim of JobBridge is to assist individuals in breaking the cycle where they are unable to get a job without experience. It provides them with an opportunity to gain valuable experience, relevant knowledge and skills within a working environment. The Scheme is open to organisations in the private, public and community or voluntary sectors.
The Scheme has made significant progress to-date. 8,588 internship placements have commenced since the launch of the Scheme in July 2011. There are currently 4,946 interns undertaking internship placements. In addition, there are in excess of 2,100 internship posts currently advertised on the JobBridge website www.jobbridge.ie.
I wish to advise that I met with the Arts Council recently to examine appropriate supports to the network of arts festivals around the country under the JobBridge scheme. The Department of Social Protection and the Arts Council are jointly progressing proposals in this area.
I wish to further advise the Deputy that there has been a significant number of JobBridge placements within the Arts sector to-date. These include internships in the following areas; Arts Office Assistant and Promotion, Heritage Research, Theatre Management, Museum Cataloguing, Exhibitions Curator, Film Production, Contemporary Gallery. The Department of Social Protection will continue to work closely with the Arts Council to support the provision of high quality internships on a nationwide basis within the Arts sector.