I am informed that my Department does not currently facilitate unpaid internships. I am further informed that, following consultation with the Workplace Relations Commission earlier this year, my Department can no longer facilitate short term unpaid work experience placements of third level students. My Department facilitates a small number of second level transition year students every year on unpaid work experience for periods of one to two weeks.
For completeness; I am informed that in the past my Department has, on occasion, facilitated requests from colleges or individual students to provide unpaid work experience in an area related to the student's course of study. Department records show that seven students were placed in 2015, six in 2016 and in 2017, one in 2018 and three in 2019. I am informed that the three students placed in 2019 were to honour a prior commitment made in good faith to the students' college. These placements varied in length from four days to three months.
In recognition that there is a value to be gained from good quality internships related to an individual's chosen career path or area of study, my Department continues to keep this issue under review.