Employers exploit internship scheme to get free workers
EMPLOYERS have tried to exploit the Government's new €20m internship scheme to get free labour.
The department monitoring the scheme has been forced to take down at least 28 job offers from its website that "did not meet required standards".
One of the ads removed was for a delivery driver and another for a night porter, according to sources close to the internship scheme.
The scheme has already sparked fears that the candidates would replace existing staff on higher wages, or that they would not get the opportunity to develop their skills.
The scheme is open to those on the Live Register for more than three months.
Employers have to pay nothing to the interns -- who get less than €2 from the State for up to 40 hours work a week, on top of dole payments.
The Department of Social Protection admitted it had to remove more than 28 of the internship ads from the scheme's website, JobBridge.ie.
"Having reviewed postings on the JobBridge website, a number were clearly not in accordance with the intent of the scheme and were removed," said a spokeswoman.
She said measures have since been introduced to protect the scheme from abuse, including "random site visits" to workplaces.
Employers have to guarantee that a placement will not include unsupervised work, and that employees will gain significant experience. They also have to prove they would need to take on a new recruit if they did not hire the intern.
In the six weeks since its launch, 1,978 placements have been advertised on the JobBridge website and 415 people have begun internships.