Department of Social Protection Logo

Breaking: Irish Government announce 3500 New Jobs* for 18 – 25 year olds!

In efforts to increase employment among 18 – 25 year olds in Ireland, The Department of Social Protection has recently launched two new schemes, First Steps and JobsPlus youth.

First Steps, as the name may suggest, in fact contains a series of steps:

  1. You must be eligible for social welfare.
  2. You must receive a pre-placement training course, funded by the Department to prepare you for work placement
  3. You may then work for four days a week for six or nine months. You will receive an additional €50 to your social welfare for your work per week.  (May not be a lot but sounds like you have a job, so far, so good. After all, experience is invaluable when you’re starting out.)
  4. You must use the fifth day of each week to undertake ‘other activities related to job-search‘ (Wait, what? Why am I searching for a job? Don’t I have one?)
  5. You will be supported by a case officer and a mentor from your sponsoring organisation. (Two people are helping me to find a job, while I already *have* a job..?)
  6. You might be lucky enough to find placement with companies such as Tesco and Diageo(Such large, profit organisations are eligible for this scheme? And are willing to offer me a mentor dedicated to helping me find another job while I have some kind of job/placement with them?)


Perhaps the ‘JobsPlus’ in JobsPlus youth indicates that the job(s) is(are) even *more* real than in First Steps?

JobsPlus youth

  1. You must be unemployed for at least 4 months in the last 6 months – and eligible for social welfare.
  2. There are two payment options to the employer – approximately €312 a month per person unemployed between 4 and 24 months and approximately €416 a month per person unemployed for more than 24 months. (Wait – how much of this goes to the employee? Is there a limit to the number of days or hours I will work under this scheme? Where can I find out more information?)
  3. You must work a minimum of 30 hours across 4 days in any 7 day period in a full time position. Part-time, short term or seasonal positions will not be eligible under JobPlus Youth. (According to an additional source)
  4. You will earn €? per week (I couldn’t find this information)
  5. Bonus: If you are currently on a JobBridge scheme you may be eligible for a full-time JobPlus Youth position after 3 months!

“..if you have the required 312 days on the Live Register in the previous 18 months, or 624 days in the previous 30 months.”

(Wait, so a JobBridge can lead to a JobsPlus now? How many steps are there to a ‘Job’?)

**editor’s note:

The title reference to “New Jobs [sic]” may refer to positions that are neither “new” nor “jobs”, but are in fact traineeships formerly known as jobs.

First Steps does seem to guarantee “new” work for case officers in the Department of Social Protection – ages of case workers not confirmed at this time**

Notes to Editors:

EU Wide Youth Guarantee Compliance

These two schemes are Ireland’s efforts as part of an EU Wide Youth Guarantee to ensure that

young people under the age of 25 receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship** within four months of entering the labour market.

**The above two schemes definitely tick the traineeship offer, although there is no common European definition of this word. Indeed pg. 7 of one working document from the EU Commission notes the risk that

young people might have to do several traineeships before they find a proper job

Source: Irish Department for Social Protection: Helping You Build a Better Life


A Day in the Life in Ireland

My work day begins like any other – I’m busy responding to queries and meeting requests in my minimum-wage office job with ever increasing responsibilities. In this economy, you are grateful to have work in a field you love as a graduate – the onus is on you to reap the opportunities such positions proffer. Mid morning I notice a text message from a long number with an unfamiliar area code. It transpires that my latest friend to leave home has procured an Australian mobile number and is checking in to let me know, as his Irish sim will expire soon. Initially happy to hear from him, my mood falters a little when I confess that my biggest news since we last spoke is that one of our few remaining friends here at home has just handed in her notice to her JobBridge placement with the intention of heading to London. Armed with a degree and a masters, she plans to progress her career and not have to work two jobs to get by over there. “She’s dead right,” he replies, and I agree.

Smiling at my friend’s excited anticipation of heading to a shooting range for the first time, I’m transported to Australia as we chat while I head to the ATM on my lunch break. What greets me is a slap in the face that jolts me back home.

Who would I like to invite home for the Gathering? My hand freezes half way to selecting ‘withdraw €10′ . I can’t take my eyes away from the photograph of young women my age smiling over drinks. My friends are now scattered across the world – San Francisco, London, Brussels, Spain, Australia and even New Zealand. My tax money has paid for this ad, I realise. My friends’ tax money has paid for this ad.  With a lump in my throat, and brimming with anger, I join my colleagues for lunch. I am unusually silent throughout, and make an excuse to leave earlier than usual. I think of my friends, all asking me for the news from home. They tell me hearing that home is not the same is no consolation, as it means that even if they could realize their fantasy to return it would not be to the same home that they left. I don’t know what to tell them, other than make new Skype dates, post more packages and renew my promise to come see them as soon as I can.

A few evenings later, towards the end of the night I am chatting with a friend who’s home for a short visit. There is a pause in our conversation, during which she takes a deep breath, looks me in the eye and declares “I probably wouldn’t be saying this to you if I wasn’t a little drunk – but I really think you need to leave this city – there  isn’t anything for you here. I love this place, it’s a great city, and I want to come back and raise my family here in a few more years, but even if you do get work – there are no people our age left here.” She gazes up and down the busy streets as if to prove her point and, I have to admit by doing so, she does.

As it happens, I am an avid traveller – but I am probably still here as I am also a stubborn optimist. I would love to be able to stay and become a bigger part of the place that I have grown up in. Perhaps the time has come to be a realist. I have to come to terms with the fact that my Irish sim will be more than likely be expiring soon too. In the meantime I hope to maintain this blog as an ongoing update to my friends, who, as recent graduates in the past few years, have all become reluctant members of the famous Irish diaspora.

This is how it is at home lads – they said to tell ye that ye’re all welcome back for The Gathering.