Employment & vocational training

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1 Debates: Job Bridge under fire

The Job Bridge scheme came under fire in the course of a Seanad adjournment debate introduced by Trevor O Clochartaigh (SF, agricultural) (Seanad Eireann, Debates, 18th December 2012, 1009-1012).  The scheme was now operating in such a way, he said, as to exploit workers and stop the provision of real jobs.  Posts like hotel receptionists, waitresses, car valets and telesales were being advertised, which were hard work but relatively easy jobs to learn.  Genuine internships would improve people’s job prospects.  Why should employers hire people, when they got them for free from the state?  Even the government was doing this, with ten people hired under the scheme to clear the backlog of vetting applications in the National Vetting Bureau.

 

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, told the Seanad that  13,049 internships had now commenced.  An interim evaluation carried out by Indecon in October found that 52.3% of finishers had progressed into employment, one of the best outcomes in Europe.  22% of placements were in the public service and 49% of these finishers were now in paid employment, 27% with their host organizations (in the Indecon report, the voluntary and community sector was defined as part of the public sector).  89.3% of interns believed that Job Bridge had given them new skills and the findings suggested that it had been an effective labour market intervention.  She continuously met people and their parents who told her that the new scheme had been strongly positive for them.  When asked by the senator to make a distinction between outcomes for the voluntary and community sector on the one hand and the state on the other, she said that this was the way the figures were structured and he was probably aware that the vast majority of public voluntary and community organizations were funded by the state.

 

She was disappointed in Sinn Fein’s attitude.  He was profoundly wrong and she invited him to think again.  She was conscious of how young people with good educational qualifications hit a brick wall when they looked for employment opportunities, but this provided a pathway to work.