Jobbridge Internship Scheme
JobBridge is the National Internship Scheme that provides work experience placements for interns for a 6 or 9 month period. The aim of the National Internship Scheme is to assist in breaking the cycle where jobseekers are unable to get a job without experience, either as new entrants to the labour market after education or training or as unemployed workers wishing to learn new skills. The scheme will also give people a real opportunity to gain valuable experience to bridge the gap between study and the beginning of their working lives.
Jobseekers who have been on the live register for at least three months can take up a voluntary internship of between six and nine months without losing their social welfare payments. They are also paid an additional €50 per week.
The initial target provided for a maximum of 5,000 places at any point in time. The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has announced that an additional 1,000 places are now being offered and has also revealed that of the 2,364 people who had completed JobBridge placements by 14 May 2012, 890 of those had immediately moved into employment, either with their JobBridge host or with another company.
Burton said this figure did not include those who may have secured paid placements in the period after their internship, but who had not found work immediately after their JobBridge placement included.
The scheme has not been without controversy and there have been regular complaints of companies using the scheme for cheap temporary labour. The department has said it ironed out those problems, which were most apparent in the first few months of the scheme. Ms Burton has said eligibility for the scheme will be extended to allow applications from those who receive one parent family payments or disability allowance.
Smaller companies of less than 50 employees have accounted for over half of all placements many of which come from the community & voluntary sector. For interns, it offers a real chance to equip themselves with new skills, often getting them into the workplace with the opportunity to secure long-term employment. The age cohort which most benefited was the 20-35 group.
In today’s tough times of budget cuts it is a scheme that community & voluntary organisations could take a look at. Benefits to a host organisation include having fresh thinking and new ideas as well as up to date knowledge and skillsets. At a time when there is an abundance of talent in the labour market, community & voluntary organisations should seek out this talent as it can yield significant dividends.