Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS)


This page is about the Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS), which closed in July 2021. It was replaced by the Work Placement Experience Programme (WPEP).

This page can be used for reference purposes for information on the operation of the YESS up until it closed on 12 July 2021.

The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) supported long-term unemployed young people back into the workplace. It started on 1 October 2018 and ended in July 2021.

YESS aimed to give you the opportunity to learn basic work and social skills in a supportive environment, while on a work placement in a host organisation. You must have been aged 18–24, unemployed and getting a qualifying social welfare payment for at least 12 months – see 'Rules' below. If you were unemployed for less than 12 months, you must have faced a significant barrier to work to qualify.

Participation was voluntary. There was no financial penalties if you did not want to participate in the scheme or if you dropped out.

The scheme was open to host organisations in the private, community and voluntary sectors only. Public service bodies, including schools and colleges, could not host YESS placements.

YESS was a scheme under the Irish Youth Guarantee. A previous placement scheme, First Steps, which was similar to YESS, finished on 30 March 2018. YESS is no longer available and was replaced by the Work Placement Experience Programme (WPEP).

Who was eligible for YESS?

People aged between 18 and 24 and:

  • Had been out of work and getting a qualifying payment (see below) for at least 12 months or
  • Faced a significant barrier to work (if unemployed for less than 12 months)

What were the qualifying payments?

You must have been getting one of the following payments for at least 12 months: Jobseeker's Benefit, Jobseeker's Allowance, Jobseeker's Transitional payment, One-Parent Family Payment, Disability Allowance, Blind Person’s Pension, or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

Other schemes that counted towards the qualifying period

The 12-month qualifying period could also have included time spent on schemes such as: SOLAS training apprenticeships, Youthreach, Back to Education Allowance, Fastrack to Information Technology and Tús.

How did YESS work?

The DSP provided a case officer, who was in contact with you and your host organisation throughout your placement. The placement was monitored with monthly reporting to make sure that it continued to meet the scheme guidelines.

Training and development

Participants could get a Training Support Grant of up to €500 if needed. The grant was available up 2 times in a 12-month period. The grant was increased from €500 to €1,000 under the July Jobs Stimulus.

Duration of scheme

The scheme lasted for 3 months, with the option to extend the placement to 6 months if the DSP agreed. Participants could spend a maximum of 6 months on a placement with the same host organisation.

You could be eligible to do 3 placements in total, up to a maximum period of 18 months (78 weeks).

Participants worked 24 hours per week over 3 days or 4 days.


Participants were paid a weekly YESS allowance of €229.20 by DSP. However, if their current social welfare payment was more than this allowance, they continued to receive their current social welfare payment plus a top-up of €22.50 per week.

Page edited: 8 February 2024