The government backed internship scheme called JobBridge has provided almost 7,000 internships since summer 2011 – the majority with private sector employers. But only 797 of those who had completed the scheme had gone into full-time employment, with just 40 per cent of those (about 300) being given jobs with the companies where they served internships.
There were complaints about companies such as Tesco using the scheme to get shelf stackers. Minister Joan Burton defended companies using the programme to find low-skilled workers…. she said “Low-skilled individuals have a right to access an activation measure that is specifically designed to improve their skills, enhance their experience and improve their chances of securing employment in the future,” .
Ms Burton also insisted opportunities would only be approved “if they can show that the intern will receive a broad and practical work experience that will involve significant learning outcomes for the intern”.
She said the Department of Social Protection was involved in the “continuous monitoring of internships to ensure that the placement provides appropriate training and development experience; and that appropriate mentoring and support is provided to the intern”.
Sinn Féin’s social protection spokesman Aengus Ó Snodaigh described plans to extend the scheme as “outrageous” and said it was “displacing real jobs”.
“The reality is that the JobBridge programme is facilitating job displacement and exploitation,” he said.