Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS)


The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) supports long-term unemployed young people back into the workplace. It started on 1 October 2018.

YESS aims 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 be aged 18–24, unemployed and getting a qualifying social welfare payment for at least 12 months – see 'Rules' below. If you have been unemployed for less than 12 months, you must face a significant barrier to work to qualify.

Participation is voluntary. There will be no financial penalties if you do not wish to participate in the scheme or if you drop out.

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

YESS is a scheme under the Irish Youth Guarantee. A previous placement scheme, First Steps, which was similar to YESS, finished on 30 March 2018.

Who is eligible for YESS?

You must be aged between 18 and 24 and:

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

You may be facing barriers to work if you are disadvantaged, for example, if you have:

  • A family history of unemployment
  • Low levels of education or skills
  • Housing insecurity or are homeless
  • A history of substance abuse

What are 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 count towards the qualifying period

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

You must:

  • Be aged 18 or older (while on one of the programmes mentioned above)
  • Have completed the programme in full, and
  • Be getting a qualifying payment immediately before starting a YESS placement.

Who is not eligible for YESS?

You are not eligible if you are:

  • Signing only for credits
  • Getting a non-qualifying payment and also getting a half-rate Jobseeker's Benefit
  • On the Community Employment (CE) programme – you can’t transfer from CE to YESS.

Change in circumstances

If you have a change in circumstances when you are on the programme, for example, if you get a job, you should notify your case officer at the Department of Social Protection (DSP) immediately.

How does YESS work?

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

Training and development

When you start, you agree a learning and development plan with the host organisation. This will detail the skills and experience that you will have the opportunity to learn. You can go on training that is provided by your organisation or on part-time education and training courses, if this does not have an impact on your placements.

Your host organisation will nominate someone to support and mentor you. At the end of your placement, you will be given a reference stating your work experience and the skills and learning you have gained.

You can get a Training Support Grant of up to €500 if needed. The grant is available up 2 times in a 12-month period. It was announced under the July Jobs Stimulus that the grant will be extended to help people participate in short courses, and the maximum value of the grant will increase from €500 to €1,000.

Duration of scheme

The scheme lasts for 3 months, with the option to extend the placement to 6 months if the DSP agrees. There will be a formal review meeting after 2 months, which will help decide whether your placement will be extended. You can spend a maximum of 6 months on a placement with the same host organisation.

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

You will work 24 hours per week over 3 days or 4 days.

Annual leave

You will be entitled to all the public holidays and 5 days of annual leave per 3-month placement.


You will be paid a weekly YESS allowance of €229.20 by DSP. However, if your current social welfare payment is more than this allowance, you will continue to receive your current social welfare payment plus a top-up of €22.50 per week.

How to apply

All YESS placements will be advertised on You should check for placements that you are interested in applying for. To apply for a placement, contact your local Intreo Centre to speak with a DSP case officer.

Alternatively, if you want a placement with a particular host organisation, you can let them know about YESS and ask them to go to to apply and sign up.

The DSP case officer will put forward suitable candidates for selection to the organisation. Host organisations may have selection procedures such as requesting a CV or inviting you for an interview.

There are a limited number of YESS places available.

Where to apply

Contact your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office for more information about YESS.

Page edited: 24 July 2020