Minister Donohoe Launches Assisted Return to Career (ARC) Programme for Civil Service 

30th May, 2024

The Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, launched the Civil Service Assisted Return to Career (ARC) Programme today. Applications for the programme are now open and will close on 27 June 2024 at 3:00 PM.

Developed in partnership with Career Returners, leading experts in facilitating the return to work of professionals, the ARC Programme aims to eliminate the ‘Career Break Penalty.’ Its central objective is to promote a more inclusive labour market for skilled workers seeking to return to work after a career break. The ARC Programme supports individuals in re-launching their careers, updating their skills, and gaining experience in a supportive environment. Specifically, it offers a six-month, full-time paid internship (returnship) in the Civil Service to those who have been on a career break for two years or more. Career returners are skilled workers who have been out of employment, often due to caring responsibilities, relocation, or ill health, and now wish to return to roles that match their skills and experience.

Launch the programme, Minister Donohoe stated:

“With the launch of this Programme, we are making a significant stride in our commitment to improving market outcomes for those facing employment barriers. This Programme exemplifies our dedication to building a future-ready Civil Service workforce by fostering equality and diversity.”

Julianne Miles, CEO of Career Returners, commented:

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Civil Service to lead the way in Ireland in tackling the Career Break Penalty through the ARC Programme. Experienced professionals wanting to return to work after long career breaks face a wider range of challenges, with widespread recruitment bias against CV gaps and a pervasive loss of confidence. Our Career Returners Indicator 2024 found that 90% of our returner community are finding it challenging to resume their careers. These returners too often have to go lower skilled roles or don’t back into the workforce at all. The ARC programme helps to harness these skills and experience, benefitting individuals, society and the economy.”

Notes to Editors:

The Civil Service ARC Programme provides individuals who have been on a career break for two years or more the opportunity to participate in a six-month returnship in the Civil Service.

The Programme seeks candidates for roles in Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, and ICT at the Higher Executive Officer grade.

The ARC Programme is not open to current Civil Servants on a career break.

The Programme aims to:

  • Create a more inclusive workplace by removing barriers to labour force participation;
  • Address skills gaps in the existing Civil Service workforce;In addition to a six-month returnship, the Programme will hold a closed competition to offer returners the opportunity to obtain permanent employment in the Civil Service.

Applications for the ARC Programme are open starting 30th May 2024 and will close on 27th June 2024 at 3:00 PM. Link to apply can be found here – 

DPENDR and Career Returners will host an information event for people who are interested in applying for the programme on 13 June at 10-11:15am. Register here