JobBridge: a tale of two internships
Two former JobBridge interns talk to us about their contrasting experiences.
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Being a young person in Ireland, you’ll almost certainly have heard about the whole controversy surrounding the Government’s JobBridge internship programme.
The scheme, which offers full-time work placements of three to six months to people in receipt of unemployment allowances, has been hailed as a success by the Government that put it in place, but it also has its fair share of detractors.
On the Government side, they argue that it has successfully stimulated employment by allowing participants to gain valuable working experience and make good professional contacts. However, opposition parties and protest groups say the Government has used JobBridge to massage employment figures in Ireland, pointing out the high non-completion rate of 59% as an indication that the scheme’s not working.
One thing all sides agree on is the fact that younger generations are most affected by JobBridge. Seeing as that’s the case, we spoke to two people who’ve done JobBridge internships, and had contrasting experiences of the system.
“I’m in no doubt that I wouldn’t be in the job I am now without doing the JobBridge scheme.”
Eoin Kettle graduated from his business studies course in 2010 with reasonable expectations of finding a job. However, when he found himself still on the dole a year later, he was left with a choice: emigrate, or do a JobBridge internship.
“I was pretty much on the way to emigrating when it came out, and I said I’ll give it a whirl. Previous to that I was having interviews, but the roadblock each time was experience. I would’ve left college with a decent result and was somewhat confident that I could find something, but it just wasn’t the case,” says Eoin.
“My mindset during the internship was to make myself look irreplaceable so they wouldn’t go back to JobBridge. Thankfully I managed to do that, and enjoyed a good relationship with the marketing manager,” says the Portmarnock man, who managed to secure full-time work with his internship employers before leaving to take up the position of international marketing executive in another company.
Although he was given a different title, Eoin admits that the job role he took on effectively replaced a senior member of staff who was made redundant in his first company.
“There’s no question that there’s a darker side to it where the company thought they could get by if they took me on a reduced salary or took another JobBridge participant on.”
“It should be scrapped altogether, get rid of it.”
23 year-old Jake Rossiter found himself looking for work after leaving his old job at Elverys in 2012. After signing on social welfare, he joined JobBridge, and was offered an internship in a Dublin GAA club.
“I don’t find any great advantages to it. They’re so-called taking people off the live register but they’re not really. Why make them work an extra 30 hours a week for an extra €50?” says Jake, who would’ve struggled to get by had he not been entitled to an extra €47 a week for working since he was 17.
“What I didn’t like about it was the fact that you have to wait for three months from when you sign on at your local welfare office to apply for one of these JobBridges, they're a waste of time if you ask me… It’s an incentive for employers to encourage free employment,” says the Whitehall resident, who believes his internship gave him no competitive advantage despite subsequently gaining employment in a similar field as a coach with the North Dublin Schoolboys League.