First Steps - Youth Development Internship

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What is First Steps?

The First Steps program is part of the EU Youth Guarantee and will offer a young person aged 18 to 24, who has had little or no experience of working, the opportunity to learn basic work skills and social skills while on a placement in a real work situation.

The First Steps program is similar to the JobBridge Internship scheme in the following ways:

  • Appointment of a mentor
  • An Employer/Intern agreement outlining activities/skills obtained
  • Monitoring of the Internship's progress
  • Payment of a €52.50 top up each week to the participant jobseeker
  • 6 or 9 month duration

However, the First Steps program provides a more supported structure, including the following:

  • Careful selection of candidates who are suitably prepared and capable of participation in First Steps - Youth Development Internship – selection will be from cohorts who have either already completed preparation courses or programmes and are ready to make the transition to a supported internship but are not yet ready for a standard JobBridge internship or full employment
  • Liaison with care workers or other support professionals and to identify, select and support candidates
  • A 4-day internship week to allow for job search activity and training and for a gradual introduction to a ‘work week'
  • A short work preparation course to focus the jobseeker and give final practical preparation for the simulated work situation including: basic work etiquette; work and social skills; timekeeping and phone etiquette; attire and presentation etc.
  • Employers are asked to work closely with local case officers and provide the following:
    • Identify and provide in-house or external training
    • Assign a work-buddy of a similar age to support the intern

First Steps - Youth Development Internships are not publicly advertised; instead DSP staff select suitable candidates and refer them for interview.

The organisation then selects their preferred jobseeker.

A minimum of three candidates will be offered for each First Steps - Youth Development Internships available. For example, if two internships are being offered by an organisation a minimum of six candidates are offered from which to select.

See information below for organisations and employers who wish to offer a First Steps - Youth Development Internship


We are targeting young unemployed people aged from 18-24 who may fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Long-term unemployed
  • Those with lower education levels
  • Others who face barriers to entering employment

When will First Steps - Youth Development Internship commence?

Canvasing of organisations has commenced and will continue throughout the year. The first intake of interns is anticipated to take place in March 2015 with further intakes throughout the year.

Where will First Steps - Youth Development Internship be available?

The First Step program is available to jobseekers nationwide and internships are being sought from organisations nationwide.

Why First Steps - Youth Development Internship?

The global economic and financial crisis hit the Irish labour market very hard and youth were one of the worst affected groups. Many unemployed youth face long spells of being out of work as only around 30% of young people on benefits move into employment within a year of making a claim.

For those with less than third-level education, exit rates into employment are lower.

How to offer First Steps - Youth Development Internships - Information for Employers & Organisations

Interested organisations should contact JobsIreland, LoCall 1890 8000 24 to let our staff know you wish to offer a First Steps - Youth Development Internships.Or email and one of our staff will call you back within 24 hours to take details of the placement that you wish to offer and answer your queries.

If you have not previously used the JobsIreland service they will first register your organisation and then take the details of the First Steps work placement over the phone. You will need the following information to do this:

  • Your company contact details
  • PAYE/PRSI Employee registration number
  • Description of your business
  • Title and description of the First Steps work placement you are offering

The European Commission is providing co-funding to the First Steps - YDI. First Steps - YDI is jointly backed by the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and the European Social Fund (ESF) and Department of Social Protection on an equal funding basis. For the period 2015 - 2017 the allocation from each of the ESF and YEI is €7.9m approx.

Last modified:05/02/2015

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