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Work Placement Programme


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.

Stream 1

To be eligible for Stream 1 of the Work Placement Programme you must:

Stream 2

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.

Keeping your social welfare payment

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:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Benefit
  • Jobseeker's Transitional payment
  • Disability Allowance
  • Blind Pension
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Illness Benefit
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit
  • Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Pension
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance

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.

Leaving a placement to take up a job

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:

  • They must register with the DSP as a provider
  • The maximum number of placements for each employer is 10 or 10% of the workforce, whichever is the lower
  • The placement must be for a minimum of 25 hours
  • The placement offered must not be in an area of work where there is an existing vacancy

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).

Information for employers

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
1-10 employees 1
11-20 employees 2
21-30 employees 3
Over 30 employees 10% of the workforce to a maximum of 25 places whichever is the smaller

How to apply

The Work Placement Programme is closed to new applicants since 21 October 2016.

Page edited: 5 January 2017



Related Documents

  • JobBridge
    JobBridge, the National Internship scheme provides work experience opportunities for unemployed people.
  • Schemes to support employment
    Overview of the employment schemes and other supports which encourage people getting unemployment and certain other social welfare payments to take up employment.
  • Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme
    This scheme exempted employers from their liability to pay their share of PRSI contributions for certain employees for 12 months. The scheme is now closed and has been replaced by the JobsPlus Scheme.

Contact Us

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.