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Monday 20 November 2017

Dog groomer wanted: €20m intern scheme cannot fill 2,300 positions

Edel Kennedy

EMPLOYERS are seeking a dog groomer and car valet through the government internship programme.

They are amongst a number of entry-level jobs where interns are required to work for 40 hours per week for an allowance of €50 on top of their social welfare payments.

One employer is seeking a caretaker with their own transport -- but "no experience necessary" for the job.

Another is seeking a pet care assistant for 38 hours per week. No experience is required, and the only qualification needed is the Leaving Certificate Applied.

The positions -- which are part of part of the National Internship Scheme -- are designed to provide up to 5,000 work experience placements in the private, public and voluntary sectors. It allows the intern to retain their social welfare entitlements while also receiving an additional allowance of €50 per week.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Protection, which administers the scheme, said they keep the advertised jobs "under review at all times".

To date the Department said around 200 positions had been removed as they "were deemed not to meet the quality requirements". The removed posts included those for a night porter and delivery driver.

"Companies have also removed many more opportunities for their own reasons or following investigation by the JobBridge team," the spokeswoman said.

She declined to comment on individual positions currently posted on the website but said the scheme was "open to all individuals irrespective of their skill levels".

"There are internship opportunities currently available for individuals who may be low-skilled. However, these are only approved if they can show that the intern will receive a broad and practical work experience that will involve significant learning outcomes for the intern."

However, some of the positions are with county councils and state agencies and are aimed at people with third-level qualifications. To date, 1,430 individuals have begun their internships with a further 2,346 positions still available.

An examination of the jobs on offer shows that the internships on offer include:

•Unfinished estates officer in Ennis with Clare Co Council;

•Landscape gardener with Meath Co Council;

•Information assistant with the Food Standards Authority;

•Library assistant with Dundalk Institute of Technology;

•Scientific officer with the Environmental Protection Agency;

•Technical services assistant with Ryanair

However, one company MD questioned whether the jobs advertised were the kind of jobs people really wanted.

John Brophy, of Carrig Solutions in Ashford, Co Wicklow, said that in the three months he had advertised an internship, he had not received one application.

His IT services company was seeking an intern to help them prepare a business plan in order to raise funds so they could expand into the UK market.

"Our ideal candidate was a graduate looking for some real-world experience but, as our ad stated, the most important qualifications were a willingness to learn, a desire to succeed and a commitment to delivering their best," he said.

"In the three months that carried this opportunity, not only did we not manage to fill this position but we got no applications. Not one."

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.

The government has set aside €20m for the scheme.

Irish Independent

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