Jobbridge – A Rant.

Did you ever think about how pissed off you are about the government?  The past, present and probably future?  I think about it sometimes and just realise that I don’t know enough about certain issues to be really REALLY pissed off.  The level of pissed off where you’re able to rattle off figures and dates and anecdotes.  I love to listen to people who are learned about a particular subject, especially when they are using that knowledge to batter the government.  If I like what I hear I usually roll in with them and pass on segments of their argument to other folk.  Knowledge is great so it is.

Anyway, my point is – think of how much angrier you would be if you actually knew all of the facts.

Personally, I try not to think too much about the government and the shit that they have put us through recently (and historically), because I have enough things to be worrying about in my own life.  However, Jobbridge makes me angry, very angry.  The people who advocate it make me angry, and the people who exploit it make my blood boil.  Fundamentally, it’s a nice idea, but, like most good natured ideas, it has been ruined.

If you are unfamiliar with Jobbridge, the basic idea is that if you are in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit/One Parent Family Payment/Disability Allowance or signing for Social Insurance Contribution credits for at least 3 months (78 days) then you can sign up to an internship where you will gain valuable experience that will help your future employment prospects.  You will also receive you social welfare as normal and also a €50 supplement.  This money is paid by the Tax Payer – not the employer.  This is part one of the problem – businesses now have a resource where they can hire someone, for free.

I have no problem with certain internships.  In fact, not only have I no problem with them, I vehemently endorse them.  These are the companies that actually provide experience for their interns.  They look after them with expenses etc (The jobbridge rules state that there is no reason why employers can’t “reimburse an intern for expenses incurred as part of the internship”).  Most do not do this.  Most importantly, if the company is willing to offer a full time job at the end of it, then that’s fantastic.

However, that hasn’t really been happening much.  One company I know of that has been hiring Interns and then offering them contracts, are GENZYME, so big round of applause for them.  If you know of other companies that have been subsequently hiring interns, then please post in my comments section below.

There is a 6 month (some cases 9 months) deadline for companies that are hiring interns.  This is to prevent long term exploitation, or to use another term, extended slavery.  However, all it succeeds in doing is leading a company to ditch one intern for another.  A vicious circle.

The reason why I am particularly annoyed about jobbridge is that it has obliterated all of the possible marketing jobs out there.  A company needs someone to market their their facebook page etc…why should they hire someone when job bridge can get them somebody for free?

Let me give you some examples of Companies and Internships that really should not be proud of themselves.  (Just going to stick to Waterford for the time being).

TITLE:  Marketing Assistant.

DESCRIPTION:  The intern will gain practical experience in a major product launch, supporting the ongoing employment of 12 people, securing significant investment and examining the impact of a new social / web media strategy in the tourism/restaurant sector The intern will receive formal/informal training in the following project management, strategic planning, objective setting and review analysis On completion the intern will have attained skills in marketing.

REQUIRMENTS:  The person fulfilling this role will be a highly motivated person, willing to think globally but act locally. In fact the ability to develop a social/web media strategy will be key to the role but equally an ability to create a plan and follow it through into action. Being people oriented will be an important feature of the successful candidate A leaning towards graphic design will he helpful also.

The employer in question here is Bellissimo Restaurant on the Dunmore Road.

Now, remember what an internship is supposed to provide.  Experience and training.  This particular employer is hoping that you already have the ability to develop a social and web strategy.  This employer is hoping you already have good design skills.  This employer won’t be able to train you in marketing.  This employer is hoping that you will just be his marketing department for the next 6 months, at a cost of ZERO.  When you have set up the facebook page, designed all the relevant posters etc for the launch of his new restaurant, then after 6 months you really won’t be needed anymore.

Now, I don’t wish to unfairly pick on this employer – He’s only doing what the goverment have allowed him to do.  I gave him the option of using my services.  I told him what I do for other similar businesses.  He was unimpressed enough to not bother replying.  Fair enough says you. Some people would think that has made me bitter, so bitter as to write this blog post maybe.  That wouldn’t be entirely true though.  It’s the fact that this isn’t the first time that it has happened that has made me somewhat bitter about this program.

Now, let’s look at another one.

DESCRIPTION:  The intern will gain practical experience in: waste management in the school; management/repair/maintenance of classroom furniture; setting up for college events/meetings; opening and locking the school; monitoring Fire Safety equipment; Green Schools Initiative; and grounds management. The intern will receive formal/informal training in the following: waste systems at the school; Green School Policy; Planning for events; Fire Safety and School Fire Register; and Health and Safety Policy. On completion the intern will have attained skills in: managing waste systems; liaising with Waste Disposal Contractors; Fire Safety and Legislation; Health and Safety; and Team work. Applicants must supply suitable character references and be prepared to complete a Garda vetting application form.

The intern will learn how to empty bins.  That will be handy.  NEXT!

DESCRIPTION: The intern will gain practical experience in reception/answering telephones; record keeping and updating archives; filing and data input; Overall General administration in all aspects of the hotel. The intern will receive formal/informal training in the following: Dealing with the general public at reception and on the switchboard; record keeping and Hotsoft training. On completion the intern will have attained skills in Dealing with the public; record keeping; word processing; and hotsoft hotel software, Office administration.

I already know how to answer a phone thanks.  That was the woodlands hotel by the way.  Obviously stuck for someone on reception at the moment.

You see, the problem with these programs is that the employer is going to make it sound as  informative as possible.  They will rattle off all the things you should learn about, and the all experience you should receive.  The reality is that once you are accepted on to this program…that is, once you attend the interview and are deemed to be suitable for the position…  Actually, let’s think about that one for a minute.  Let’s say you are looking for a marketing internship and you attend an interview with three other people…what makes you any more suitable or unsuitable for a position that is supposed to train you?  Let’s say you turn up for an interview and you don’t have much graphic design skills or you haven’t ran a social media campaign, but you’d like to learn how to do those things…do you think you’ll be offered the internship over the person who already has these skills and experience?  Of course not.

Once you have been accepted as an intern then you just become another member of staff.  Sure they might ask you more than others if “you’re ok”, or if “you’d like help with anything”.  But most interns will be trying to impress, because most interns think there might be a job at the end of the tunnel.  There rarely is.  You will work a 40 hour week like the rest of the staff.  You will, more than likely, be given out to by the boss, like the rest of the staff.  You just won’t be earning what the rest of the staff are earning.

Here’s an experiment for you:  go to the FAS website’s job section and have a look through the jobs they have on offer.  Actually, you know what…I’ll do it for you.

All the jobs that have no money beside them, that is, the euro sign € with nothing after it.  They’re job bridge positions.  These are companies who had positions that needed to be filled, that have found a way of filling this positions for free, at the expense of the tax payer.

Now, there are some internships that will look good on a CV and may provide someone with some good knowledge and experience.  But what good is having that knowledge and experience if the job that you are now equipped for is no longer available because some other intern is now doing it for free?

As always, your thoughts are welcome below.


About deisesupes

Creative Writer, part time journalist, part time Graphic Design enthusiast.
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8 Responses to Jobbridge – A Rant.

  1. Barry Kavanagh says:

    I enjoyed that, Darren. It’s something that I’m currently looking at in Dublin and that’s my biggest fear, just being used as a stop gap til the next newb comes along. I would like to think that companies in Dublin would be a bit more professional and decent about it, but it’s probably me showing some naivete. Sure enough, those championing it are able to rattle off figures of high rates of employment afterwards, but they’re obviously spun in a certain direction. Good post though!

  2. Philip says:

    Fiar play Darren, the more of these jobs I have seen advertised (a huge increase recently) the more skeptical I have become about the scheme. Companies advertising for posts they clearly need filled but rather than pay turn it into a Jobbridge position and fill it for free!

    • deisesupes says:

      Thanks for reading Philip. I believe there is some good faith behind the program, but it has lost its way, and more and more employers are now taking advantage of it, and young job seekers.

  3. Cherry Chubachup says:

    Good post but have you seen it from the inside. I am currently doing an Internship in a solicitors firm as an Administrative Assistant having graduated with a 2:1 Law degree in 2010. I believe the only reason I secured this position is because I can type fast, I have not contributed any of my own knowledge I fought so hard to learn during my four years at college in the 7 months I’ve been here. I only type and type and type. My hope is that there will be a full time PAYING position at the end of it but there are no signs of this. But in thinking about a full time position with this firm I don’t even know if I would be happy taking a position having come from a FAS run program because as you can imagine that stigma is still attached to FAS. In my opinion I am seen as a bum from FAS by my host organisation and I would not be worthy of a full timers wage. Also, as this is the area I want to work in I have to travel nearly 60kms each way every morning because I come from a small rural town and secured the internship in the City. Now I am over 25 and therefore I do get the full allowance with the extra €50 but I pay over €100 in travel expenses just getting to this internship. I have a college loan, a car loan, car tax and insurance etc and I have a lunch to buy every day not to mention the professional clothes I had to put on my credit card to look professional. I drive 10kms to the bus station and travel by bus the rest of the way because of parking charges in the City and as a result of the infrequent bus departures I am gone from my home for over 12 hours a day. I have been working since I was 16 and have no problem working long hours but I would like to be rewarded for my effort. Even minimum wage would be like a lottery win at this stage. I keep reminding myself I am doing this for my CV and hopefully my self esteem will reemerge in the years to follow.

  4. Wait…. Some employers respond to your application? So far i have applied to a few of them. Ones that are appropriate to my qualifications and still, nothing.

  5. As above. says:

    You mentioned Genzyme as a company that do offer contracts to some that are on an internship,well one company that I know of that does the same is APS MATERIALS.A former colleague of mine was put on an internship with this company,and after 3 months he was put on a contract and will be there at least till November.Although they did not give me the opportunity to show them my potential,as they felt that I was too passionate about the voluntary work that I do,I still commend them for how they operate the system.

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