The Department of Social Protection has changed the eligibility criteria for the National Internship Scheme.

Initially, to qualify for the JobBridge Scheme an unemployed person had to be on the Live Register for at least three months and could not be taking part in any other training course or scheme.

This situation - highlighted by RTÉ News in August - meant that prospective interns had to wait 78 days while drawing the dole before they could begin a placement.

However, the steering group of the scheme has reviewed this requirement and decided to change it.

The Department of Social Protection has done a U-turn and now says that time spent on training, education and community employment schemes will not prevent a person qualifying for an internship straight away.

This change will come into effect from next Monday.

The qualifying courses and schemes are: the Back to Education Allowance, VTOS, FÁS/Fáilte Ireland Training courses, Youthreach, FIT, Community Employment Schemes, TUS, the Rural Social Scheme, Back to Work Scheme, FÁS Job Initiative and Job Assist.

The Department says it requires JobBridge applicants to be on the Live Register and in receipt of benefits, but is no longer preventing them from beginning an internship immediately upon completion of another course or scheme.