Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (423)

Catherine Murphy


423. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of unpaid internships issued and-or granted to persons to work in his Department over the past five years to 28 August 2019; the number of persons who took up unpaid internship roles in that timeframe; if his Department continues to offer unpaid internships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36146/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department tries to facilitate, where appropriate, internships where an individual, their college/university or an advocacy group/charity has requested a work placement. 

The following are the unpaid internships/work placements facilitated over the last five years:

Myself and Minister Mitchell O’Connor have both facilitated interns through the Student Placement Programme in the Houses of the Oireachtas, my office in 2019 and Minister Mitchell O’Connor in 2018 and 2019.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor has also facilitated three EUSA placements (2017*, 2018, 2019) taking one intern per year through this programme.  EUSA is a not-for-profit international education organization that implements academically-directed internship programs on behalf of colleges and universities.  She also facilitated an internship through Global Experiences, which is a part of the American Institute For Foreign Study’s (AIFS) family of programs which results in academic credits for the intern as part of their studies, in 2018.

Since 2015, my IT Unit has facilitated six student work placements requested by TU Dublin Blanchardstown Campus (in association with Springboard) in order to provide students with the practical experience necessary to complete their IT studies.   

My Department has also facilitated unpaid work placements in Dublin and Tullamore for five people from the National Learning Network (NLN) in this time period. This NLN provides a wide range of vocational training and education programmes, funded by SOLAS, as well as rehabilitative training, funded by the HSE, for people who need specialist support to gain employment (long term unemployed and people with an illness or disability).

* One of these placements commenced when the Minister was in DJEI and moved across to my Department in 2017 when the Minister’s role changed.