I propose to take Questions 349 and 350 together.
As the Deputy is aware JobBridge is a targeted labour market activation measure intended to assist jobseekers to break the cycle where they are unable to get a job without experience, to provide those seeking employment with the opportunity to gain work experience, maintain close links with the labour market and to enhance their skills and competencies through an internship opportunity, thereby improving their prospects of securing employment in the future. The scheme gives individuals a real opportunity to gain valuable experience to bridge the gap to the beginning of the rest of their working lives.
The JobBridge Scheme has made very impressive progress since it came into operation on the 1st July, 2011. As of 21st February 2013 14,888 internships had commenced, 5,790 participants were on an internship and 2,241 internship opportunities were being advertised on www.jobbridge.ie .
In respect of the specific aspect of JobBridge to which the Deputy refers, I can say that, as of 14th February, 2013, 29% or 4,173 of those who have participated in JobBridge internships are under 25 years of age. The independent research found that, of those aged under 25 years, 24.2% had been unemployed for 12 months or more prior to commencing their internship.