First Steps Youth Developmental Internship - Information for Host Organisations

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The First Steps programme will be closed to new applications from 1st December 2017.

A short period will be allowed to process applications received by then, but the final date for a participant to commence a placement will be 2nd January 2018

All First Steps placements will finish by Friday 30th March 2018.

The First Steps programme is being closed to facilitate the introduction of a new Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) which will commence in Quarter 2, 2018.

For more information on YESS, click here

What is the First Steps?

First Steps is one of many youth focused actions that Ireland has committed to delivering under the Irish Youth Guarantee.  

First Steps is a work placement scheme aimed at 18-24 year olds, who are signing on the live register and who have limited or no experience of work, in particular, those young people who would find it difficult to progress through candidate screening in a typical recruitment process. The objective is to provide young people with an opportunity to learn and develop various work skills and gain relevant workplace experience.  

Placements are for 3 months with an option to extend to 6 or 9 months and participants will receive an allowance of €52.50 per week on top of their social welfare entitlement. The Host Organisation selects the potential participant(s) after they have been referred by their local Intreo office.

What are the benefits of taking on First Steps participant?

  • An opportunity to contribute through corporate social responsibility to economic recovery.
  • An opportunity to give a young unemployed person relevant work experience and skills.
  • Access to potential future employees. 

Eligibility for First Steps

Host Organisations are organisations providing placement opportunities and participating in the Scheme.

  • This Scheme is open to organisations in the private, public (including commercial semi-state) or community and voluntary sectors.
  • In order to qualify for a placement, an organisation or a local branch, must have a minimum of 1 full -time employee who is employed for 30 hours or more per week (i.e. on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI) in addition to the employer
  • The Host Organisation must be a legal entity and/or a charity recognised by the Revenue Commissioners (with a CHY number).
  • The Host Organisation currently may not have vacancies in the area of activity in which the placement is offered.
  • A Host Organisation cannot offer a placement in the same area of activity where redundancies have occurred.
  • The placement will not be provided to displace an employee.  The Scheme Administrator (Employer Relations Division) reserves the right to review cases where it is reported that this is the case.
  • The Host Organisation may not provide a placement opportunity under the Scheme to an individual if they have an existing/previous employment relationship with the person.
  • The Host Organisation’s Public/Employers Liability insurance and Motor insurance, if applicable, will cover any participants on this Scheme.
  • The Host Organisation must be fully compliant with current workplace health and safety and all other legal requirements.
  • The Host Organisation has responsibility to ensure that the appropriate process is applied to placements that require Garda vetting.  Participants must agree to comply with requests for Garda Vetting where necessary in accordance with the Host Organisation’s policy on Garda Vetting.
  • The table below shows the total number of placements an organisation can offer at any one time:

Number of Full Time Employees*

Number of Placements

1-10 employees

1 placement

11-20 employees

3 placements

21-30 employees

4 placements

30 + employees

20% of the workforce to a maximum of 200 placements whichever is the smaller

* Who is employed for 30 hours or more per week (i.e. on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI)


Local branch offices of national organisations e.g. large retail outlets will notbe regarded as an individual Host Organisation for the purpose of First Steps.

The maximum number of First Steps participants a Host Organisation can have on the Scheme at any point in time are 20.

Do I pay the participant?

No, the participants on the First Steps scheme will receive an allowance of €52.50 per week on top of their social welfare entitlement. This will be payable for the period of the placement by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

How do I get involved and provide a placement under the First Steps scheme?

Register your Expression of Interest via email to and we will send you out the application form. A Case Officer will then contact you to assist in identifying suitable candidates for the First Steps position.
Jobseekers that are eligible for First Steps and interested in your position will be referred to you for interview. A minimum of three candidates will be put forward for each First Steps vacancy.

Note: First Steps placements will not be advertised publicly. To find out more about First Steps in your local area, contact your nearest Intreo office for further information and advice.

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Last modified:26/10/2017