The Work Placement Programme (WPP) provides 9 months’ work experience in the private, public, community and voluntary sectors for graduates and other unemployed people. The placements are for a minimum of 25 hours per week.
Since 21 October 2016, the Work Placement Programme is closed to new applications.
The programme is available to people getting most social welfare payments, including Jobseeker's Allowance and Jobseeker's Benefit. If you are getting a social welfare payment for at least 3 months, you may be able to keep it while on the programme - see 'Keeping your social welfare payment' below.
People who are not getting a social welfare payment, or who are on a payment for less than 3 months, are eligible to take part, but will not be get a social welfare payment while on the programme.
There are 2 streams in the Work Placement Programme (WPP). Stream 1 offers places for graduates and Stream 2 offers places for unemployed people, with a number of these places reserved for those aged under 34. If you are an unemployed graduate, you can apply for place in either stream. Placements are allocated to a region according to the number of people on the Live Register in that region and are allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis - see ‘How to apply’ below.
To be eligible for Stream 1 of the Work Placement Programme you must:
To be eligible for Stream 2 of the Work Placement Programme you must be unemployed. You do not have to be getting a social welfare payment.
You do not have to be a graduate, but graduates can apply.
If you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment for at least 3 months, you may be able to keep your payment while on the Work Placement Programme, subject to the approval of the Department of Social Protection (DSP). You must notify the Department that you are starting a placement, as this changes your status. Arrangements have been made to allow participants on the Work Placement Programme to sign on by post if they are claiming jobseeker's payments. As WPP is a voluntary work placement no payment from the employer is permitted.
The qualifying payments are:
If you are getting Disability Allowance, Blind Pension, Invalidity Pension or Illness Benefit you must apply to the Department of Social Protection for an exemption to start a placement on the Work Placement Programme.
If you are on Illness Benefit you must be getting a social welfare payment for 6 months before you can apply for the programme.
If you get a job during the placement you are under no obligation to stay. You should give the placement provider and the Department one week's notice that you are leaving.
In addition, your provider may be able to employ you under the JobsPlus incentive directly from your placement. You must have been getting a qualifying payment prior to your placement and you must satisfy the required qualifying period and conditions. You can read more in our document on JobsPlus.
Employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors are all eligible to participate in the Work Placement Programme.
The requirements for employers providing the work placements include:
In general, employers will be able to participate if they had no redundancies in the previous 3 months. However, employers who have made people redundant in the last 3 months will still be able to participate if the number of redundancies in that period is less than 5% of the workforce.
You can read detailed eligibility criteria for employers here (pdf).
Number of placements: The maximum number of placements that an employer can offer depends on the number of full-time employee as follows:
|Number of full-time employees||Number of placements|
|Over 30 employees||10% of the workforce to a maximum of 25 places whichever is the smaller|
The Work Placement Programme is closed to new applicants since 21 October 2016.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.