JobBridge internships extended to arts sector

Change aims to facilitate local authorities’ support for opportunities with local arts groups

 Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton launching the JobBridge internship scheme with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and HP Ireland managing director  Martin Murphy. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton launching the JobBridge internship scheme with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and HP Ireland managing director Martin Murphy. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Fri, Apr 12, 2013, 12:54

The JobBridge scheme is being extended to allow internships in the arts sector.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan launched the extension today at Mr Deenihan’s department in Killarney.

Instigated in association with the Arts Council, the change aims to facilitate local authorities’ support for internships for local arts groups. It is hoped it will provide opportunities for jobseekers who are interested in pursuing careers in the arts.

Ms Burton said the scheme is proving to be successful.

“I’m delighted we are now widening JobBridge, so that people interested in careers in the arts get opportunities to pursue their creative ambitions. In recessions, the importance of the arts is often downplayed,” she said.

“As well as entertaining and inspiring people on a personal and collective level, the arts make a crucial contribution both to Ireland’s economy and its international standing.”

Mr Deenihan said the move will allow people to take their first steps to a career in the arts.

“In the sector there is a long tradition of new entrants working alongside established artists, performers, practitioners and arts administrators. This kind of hands-on training and experience is of critical importance, and this is where JobBridge can help.”

Earlier this week, The Irish Times found 211 companies taking part in the scheme were investigated by the Department of Social Protection, with 38 of those investigations substantiating complaints from interns.

In addition, 13 companies will no longer take part in the scheme.

An independent review last year found just over half of all participants found employment after their placement. To take part, applicants have to be in receipt of social welfare for at least three months.

Successful applicants are offered either six- or nine-month internships, along with €50 per week on top of social welfare payments.