None of 228 Government department JobBridge interns kept on
Department of Justice gave internships to 90 people on social welfare payments
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton: established JobBridge in 2011. Photograph: Frank Miller
A total of 228 JobBridge interns have been taken on by 14 Government Departments, but none of them has been kept on after completing their placements.
Soon after JobBridge’s launch, Minister for Social Affairs Joan Burton said: “I would hope that some employers who through JobBridge find talented and motivated interns can make the decision to offer employment to their intern. In other words, the period of internship would be a job interview for a longer period of employment.”
However new figures show that, while 14 of 16 Government departments have hired interns using the scheme, established in 2011, none has offered the interns long-term employment.
The public sector recruitment moratorium restricts the capacity of Government Departments to recruit new staff, a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Protection said.
Under the JobBridge scheme, internships are provided for six to nine months for people who have been on social welfare for at least three months. They receive their social welfare payment plus an extra €50 a week in exchange for their work.
So far, the departments taking on the most interns are the Department of Justice and Equality (90), Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (29) and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (19).
The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs are the only two not to have interns under the scheme, although the Department of Children inherited some interns when it was formed.
The Department of Foreign Affairs had advertised a number of positions, but due to a number of factors, they were not filled.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Children said: “When the Department of Children and Youth Affairs was established in June 2011, three JobBridge placements were in place at the Office of the Minister for Children and these transferred to the new department on its establishment.”
“As a newly formed department made up of staff from four departments, there was a substantial amount of initial corporate work involved setting the department up and ensuring it was able to operate effectively. The last JobBridge placement at the department expired in January 2012.”
Despite not employing any interns following placement, a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Affairs, which offered seven placements since Ms Burton launched JobBridge, said interns gained valuable experience from the scheme.
“JobBridge internships are providing effective and high quality real-workplace experience to break the cycle where unemployed people, even those with good vocational or academic qualifications have difficulty securing employment without demonstrable work experience,” she said.
“The recent Indecon evaluation found that 41.2 per cent of interns who undertook their internship in a public sector organisation progressed into paid employment.”
A total of 9,965 companies have used the JobBridge scheme, with 26 of those being disqualified for breaking the programme’s terms and conditions. Of those 26, eight were in the midlands, six in Dublin, four in the midwest, four in the northeast, two were in mid-Leinster and two in Cork.