Dole claimants will be offered an extra €50 a week to take on work experience, under the Government’s jobs plan.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said 5,000 places will be opened for unemployed people under a new national internship scheme.
The placements will last between six to nine months at a time, within a limited two-year period.
Those signing on will get the cash on top of their benefits if they take on work in the private, public and voluntary sectors.
The Government said it will create 20,900 places overall in training, education and upskilling.
Almost 6,000 third-level or “springboard seats” will be given over this autumn to those who have lost their jobs in industries worst affected by the downturn.
Another 1,000 long-term places and 5,000 short-term places on specific skills training for those facing long-term unemployment will start this summer.
A back-to-education scheme will take on another 3,000 people who did not sit leaving certificate examinations.
An extra 1,000 post-leaving certificate courses are also being created for people looking to get back to work.
Because of the dire state of the public finances, the measures are being bank-rolled by a 0.6% levy on all private pensions.
The tax is expected to raise €470m a year, or €1.9bn over the next four years.
Mr Noonan admitted the impact of the initiative would be modest and added there would be no extravagant claims about its potential.
But he claimed it would help rebuild confidence in households, businesses and among international investors.
“These are the first steps by this government towards improving the competitiveness of important sectors of the economy,” he said.
“These first steps will be followed by further movement towards this Government‘s vision of rebuilding a prosperous and productive economy by the end of our term of office.”