Proposal for National Graduate Internship Programme

Senator Ó Domhnaill urges the Government to implement his proposal for a National Graduate Internship Programme

Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has urged the Government to implement his proposal for a national graduate internship programme, a proposal which has already received the widespread support of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary party.

The introduction of a National Graduate Internship Programme is the next step that needs to be taken in tackling unemployment and emigration among recent graduates. After investing heavily in the education of our young people, we must ensure the brightest and best graduates remain in the country. Donegal is currently ranked fifth out of 26 counties for retaining its graduates. While this is welcome news, we still need to do more to encourage graduates to stay in Donegal.

Unemployment among graduates is a significant problem and the Government has made clear that it is committed to tackling it. While it is true that people with higher levels of education attainment are more likely to gain employment, the reality is that 21% of those in our dole queues are unemployed graduates. The national graduate internship programme will stop young graduates from drifting into long term unemployment by providing them with relevant work experience in various multinationals, state agencies and local authorities.

The Government attempted to address this situation with the Work Placement Programme (WPP) last year, which provided a nine month work placement for graduates and non-graduates. While1,106 graduates benefitted under this programme, we need a programme that is much vaster and is capable of providing estimated 50,000 unemployed graduates with work experience.

Under my proposal, which was set out to the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party, the graduate would obtain approximately €20,000 for a 12 month work contract. The Government would provide 75% of the salary (i.e. €15,000 P.A.) with the employer being asked to contribute 25% towards the salary (i.e. €5,000 P.A.). The net effect of this to the exchequer would be that PAYE, PRSI and Levy returns would yield €3,425 (for a single employee), which would leave the net cost to the State at €11,575, which is only €1,383 over the Job Seekers Allowance/Benefit payment level.

There are huge benefits for all parties involved. The scheme provides a great opportunity for unemployed graduates to gain essential hands on experience allowing them to remain at home and harness their talents into our economy while allowing companies and State agencies to employ highly talented individuals at little cost. Not only would this scheme provide significant value for money but it would benefit a far greater number of graduates than the current Work Placement Programme.

I welcome the Tánaiste’s recent confirmation that she is actively exploring new measures for unemployed graduates including the internship proposal. After receiving the widespread support of the Fianna Fáil party, I would now urge the Ministers for Entreprise, Trade & Innovation, Education & Skills and Social Protection to interact with each other with a view to introducing this initiative as soon as possible.

Posted: Nov 17, 2010     |     Categories: Donegal South West