The JobBridge internship scheme will be closed to new applications from Friday, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has announced.
Mr Varadkar said the “far from perfect” initiative has served its purpose and will be wound down to be replaced by a new programme.
“Those currently on the programme will be able to complete their internship,” Mr Varadkar said.
A consultation process has been launched for key stakeholders to design a new, more targeted work experience programme, he added.
Mr Varadkar said it “will focus on the medium to long-term unemployed, have a stronger focus on skills and training, and should provide at least the minimum wage.”
The controversial JobBridge scheme was launched in 2011 and provided work experience opportunities for unemployed people. Participants were offered an internship of up to nine months – which saw them keep their social welfare payment and get an extra €52 per week.