The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English, TD, today launched 40 traineeships/ placements for Irish graduates. The initiative is funded from the Irish Erasmus+ budget and builds on a 2012 recommendation from the Forfás Expert Group on Future Skills Needs that the programme should be used to support employability and German language learning.
For the first time, the Irish Erasmus+ National Agency (HEA), the German National Agency (German Student Exchange Service - DAAD) and the Goethe-Institüt Irland have combined to put the scheme in place exclusively for Irish graduates and undergraduates.
The traineeships have been sourced by the German partners and cover a range of sectors located across seven German regions. Under the project, the participants will receive €300 per month from Erasmus+, as well as a stipend from their German employers.
Of the 40 placements, 25 are under the HEA/DAAD partnership and a further 15 are under the aegis of the Goethe-Institüt Irland. Initially, the target will be students who have graduated in 2014. Depending on the uptake, further categories of eligible students can be added.
The aim of the project is to enhance partnerships with prestigious German partners. The linkages of European and national strategies and initiatives is a very clear example of two countries working together to address mutual challenges, especially those linked to the world of work, language learning and employability.
Announcing the Scheme, Minister English said: "I am confident that this initiative will do much more than enhance the friendship that exists between our two countries.
"Knowledge, innovation, creativity, research, flexibility and partnership are key areas which will assist our recovery and I can readily identify elements where this project supports these areas.
"On behalf of the Irish Government, I wish to thank the German Erasmus+ National Agency, the Goethe Institute in Dublin, his Excellency the German Ambassador, Mr Matthias Hoepfner, and Ms Miriam Broderick, formerly of Dublin Institute of Technology, for their support for this project.
"I would like to congratulate the students and the Irish National Agency at the HEA for bringing to fruition what I am sure will be an extremely rewarding project."
Notes for Editors:
One of the highlights of the Irish Presidency of the European Council in 2013 was the successful agreement on the form and content of the new Erasmus+ programme, which covers the period until 2020. It was rightly seen as a major achievement with the potential to have a very positive impact on the lives and futures of young people in particular.
Erasmus+ will support a number of actions over the next seven years, including student and staff mobility, institutional co-operation and policy reform. Its aims are closely tied with the Europe 2020 strategy of achieving a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020 for all of Europe's citizens.