Ministers for Art and Social Protection launch new arts sector internships

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht,
12 April 2013, Ireland

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, TD and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, TD have today announced a further extension to the successful JobBridge national internship scheme, which will provide for new internships in the arts sector.

In association with the Arts Council, the new strand will provide exciting opportunities for those interested in careers in the arts, allowing them to gain hands-on experience and enrich their skills. It will foster emerging talent in the arts and support local arts groups in theatre, film, visual arts, dance, music, literature and more.

Minister Burton said: “JobBridge has proved hugely successful since its launch, with 61% of those completing their internships progressing into employment, one of the best progression rates for such a programme anywhere in Europe. I’m delighted we are now widening JobBridge, so that people interested in careers in the arts get opportunities to pursue their creative ambitions. In recessions, the importance of the arts is often downplayed. But as well as entertaining and inspiring people on a personal and collective level, the arts make a crucial contribution both to Ireland’s economy and its international standing.”

Minister Deenihan said: "This is an important development because it will help people take the first step towards a career in the arts. In the sector, there is a long tradition of new entrants working alongside established artists, performers, practitioners and arts administrators. This kind of hands-on training and experience is of critical importance, and this is where JobBridge can help. I hope that as many opportunities as possible can be created through this widening of JobBridge, and that the maximum number of people can benefit."

Arts Council chair Pat Moylan said: "Arts has never flinched in the face of adversity, and some of the most exquisite work has emerged from the can-do, collaborative approach of so many arts organisations, especially in hard times. This new strand of JobBridge harnesses that spirit. I am delighted to see there has already been a very positive response from many local authorities. Their flexible, pragmatic approach, rooted in ambition for their local arts organisations and communities, is heartening. I would encourage more local authorities to come on board and make best use of this initiative. We need you! When we all work together there is no limit to what we can achieve."

The JobBridge Arts strand involves a collaboration between the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Arts Council which seeks to enrich Ireland’s arts culture while reducing unemployment at the same time.

The initiative will see JobBridge, the national internship scheme which has seen 16,000 participants since its launch in July 2011, extended to allow local authorities support internships for local arts groups.

The local authorities will invite expressions of interest from the groups, and recruit interns accordingly who will work with the groups under the aegis of the local authorities.

Arts Officers in the local authorities will coordinate and govern the internships. The Arts Council will develop a toolkit of best practice to support the initiative.

The strand builds on a long tradition of informal mentorship within the arts community. The initiative will extend the level of support that local authorities can give to arts organisations at a time of constrained resources, and will give successful applicants hands-on training and experience of working in the sector.

JobBridge is playing a significant role in helping people back to work. According to an independent evaluation of JobBridge by Indecon International Economic Consultants, 61% of JobBridge participants have progressed into employment within five months of completing their internship.

Some 89% of interns felt that JobBridge had given them new skills, while 96% of companies that have participated in the scheme say they would recommend JobBridge to other companies. These findings demonstrate the potential value of the JobBridge Arts strand to both participants and the organisations with whom they work.

The internships will be for between 6 and 9 months’ duration. Interns will receive an allowance of €50 per week on top of their social welfare entitlement. This will be paid for the duration of the internship by the Department of Social Protection.,16927,en.html