GradStart Funding Support



Objective of GradStart

GradStart will support companies with ambitious growth plans to employ a graduate on a rolling basis for a 2-year contract duration for each graduate. Graduates will have a minimum Level 6 qualification on the National Vocational Qualifications Framework or equivalent. The offer will be available to all Local Enterprise Office client companies who meet the programme criteria.

Graduates may work in any area of the business excluding roles related to sales and marketing activities.

Company benefits

  • Facilitate LEO client companies to effectively compete for graduate talent.
  • Utilise graduates to help deliver defined company projects and embed capability and/or support the company achieve its goals.
  • Improve the skills base and competence available in the business

Graduate benefits

  • A wide range of placement opportunities in indigenous growth-oriented client companies.
  • Work on delivery of a practical project with a LEO client company over a minimum 24-month placement.
  • Dedicated in-company mentor support during the programme.

Duration & Funding

This is a 24-month placement support to embed higher levels of graduate capability in our client companies. Enterprise Ireland will provide financial support of €30k (€15k per year)or 50% of individual graduate salary costs (whichever is the lesser), with a limit of three graduates at any one time.

Salary support is based on a full-time position. A graduate’s working week must be in line with a company’s standard working hours for full-time employees.

Language Proficiency

Where a company has a clear requirement for a graduate with language proficiency and recruits a graduate with language proficiency*, Enterprise Ireland will provide financial support of €42k (21k per year on a maximum allowable salary of 30k per year) or 70% of individual graduate salary costs (whichever is the lesser), with a limit of three graduates at any one time.

Applicant Eligibility

Eligible companies

  • LEOs are limited to 1 graduate on a 2-year contract at any one time and must have a minimum of 5 full time employees to qualify for support.
  • Eligible companies must be able to demonstrate satisfactory progress against business plan and evidence of appropriate funding for the duration of the placement

Ineligible companies / Exclusions

  • Partnerships
  • Small enterprises in the agricultural sector are excluded in line with State aid guidelines.
  • Companies with charitable status, commercial semi-state companies, “not for profit” organisations, trade associations, company representation bodies such as Chambers of Commerce, Sports Clubs and other non-commercial bodies or associations are not eligible to participate in GradStart

Graduate Eligibility

Eligible Graduates

GradStart is open to graduates and postgraduates:

  • Seeking graduate entry level positions;
  • Have a recognised qualification not less than Level 6 on the National Vocational Qualifications Framework, or recognised equivalent, or a postgraduate degree not less than Level 9 on the National Vocational Qualifications Framework, or recognised equivalent;
  • Have a valid work permit to work in Ireland (if required) for the duration of the 24-month placement; OR
  • Hold a 1-year working visa with the option to renew the visa to allow completion of the 2-year contract – neither the hiring company nor Enterprise Ireland will have any liability or responsibility should the graduate be unable to renew their working visa.
  • Have graduated within the last four years.
  • Can provide proof of language proficiency where required by hiring company.

Ineligible Graduates

  • Graduates who cannot provide evidence of having reached the required academic standard on the National Vocational Qualifications Framework or demonstrate equivalence;
  • Graduates who do not, at time of application, have a valid work permit to work in Ireland;
  • Graduates who are more than four years post-graduation.
  • Graduates recruited or on the company payroll prior to the grant support date, graduates transferred from another location of the company to the grant aided company location; graduates performing a sales or marketing role for the grantee company; graduates supported by the Jobs Plus Programme administered by the Department of Social Protection;
  • Graduates who cannot provide proof of language fluency (where required by hiring company).

Application Process

All company applications for funding should be discussed with your Local Enterprise Office before applying

    Download GradStart Terms of Reference

    Graduate Application Process

    Companies are responsible for attracting, interviewing and hiring their own graduate(s). 

    Funding Approval Process

    There are no call close dates. The process is not competitive. Applications will be evaluated by the Local Enterprise Office

    Contact/more information

    Gradstart Brochure Thumbnail

    Download GradStart brochure

    Marian Roche

    Local Enterprise Office South Cork

    021 4285200

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