'Jobbridge' extension announced

Wed, May 9, 2012, 01:00

The Government's national internship scheme is to be expanded by 1,000 places.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton will hold a press conference today to announce that the number of available places on jobbridge.ie will increase from 5,000 to 6,000 places.

The scheme, which went live last July, 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.

“The scheme has made significant progress to date. In just 10 months since the scheme was launched 6,840 internships have started. The initial target provided for a maximum of 5,000 places at any point in time. At May 4th, 2012, 4,670 participants were on JobBridge placements and 1,876 posts were being advertised on the scheme’s website.”

Martin Murphy, managing director of HP Ireland and chairman of the steering group, said that there had been strong take-up of the scheme from private sector employers with two-thirds of interns placed with private companies. One-fifth of placements are in public sector bodies with the community and voluntary sector accounting for the remaining participants.

“I have received very positive feedback on JobBridge from business people across the spectrum and the National Internship Scheme is now hardwired into the range of opportunities open to those who want to get back into the workplace,” he said.

“Smaller companies of less than 50 employees have accounted for over half of all placements. JobBridge is delivering real value to all involved. 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.

Preliminary data has shown that some 797 interns, on the immediate completion of their internship, have gone into employment with either their host company or another company.