New Initiatives from the Department of Social Protection

The Department of Social Protection are introducing new initiatives that may be of interest to you or your business.

First Steps Youth Internship:

The Department of Social Protection is seeking expressions of interest from organisations right across the private, public, voluntary and community sectors inviting them to participate as a sponsor in the First Steps programme.

The objective of First Steps is to provide participants with an opportunity to learn and develop basic work and social skills while on a placement in a real work situation in organisations in the private, public, voluntary and community sectors.

Each placement will last for six or nine months during which time the participants will work for four days per week.  All participants will be supported by a dedicated Department of Social Protection case officer and a mentor will also assigned by the Host Organisation. All participants will receive a pre-placement training course, funded by the Department, to prepare them for their work placement.  Similar to JobBridge, participants on First Steps will also receive, through the Department, a single allowance consisting of €50 per week in addition to any existing social welfare entitlements.

First Steps builds on experience over the past two years of placing young people into work training and experience programmes with employers such as Tesco and Diageo. Employers can register their interest in offering a placement by emailing  Placements will start in April 2015.

JobsPlus Youth:

Since the launch of JobsPlus in 2013, almost 4,000 jobseekers have returned to work via the scheme, three in five of whom had been unemployed for two years or more.

The Department is now building on the success of the scheme by launching a dedicated JobsPlus Youth strand for young people. Under this strand, the qualifying period for employing such young people has been reduced from 12 months to four months.  It is envisaged that JobsPlus Youth will support an additional 1,500 jobs for under 25’s this year.

JobsPlus Youth is now live and available with immediate effect.  Employers can register their interest at

If you would like more information on either of these initiatives or indeed any of our services, please contact your local Employer Engagement Officer: or at 087 3792138