Monday 11 December 2017

Government hires three out of 284 interns

Taoiseach Department made zero job offers to JobBridge trainees

Dara Calleary: Fianna Fail jobs spokesman
Dara Calleary: Fianna Fail jobs spokesman
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

The Government hired 284 JobBridge interns, under their own programme to boost employment, but just three landed jobs in Government Departments, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

Launching the scheme in June 2011, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said "the Government is committed to getting Ireland back to work and JobBridge is an important part of that effort".

The Department of Social Protection confirmed that 284 interns - roughly divided between the sexes - have worked in various departments since the back-to-work scheme began in 2011 - with 269 completing their internships.

Of those who finished placements, 69 progressed into employment with other companies, but just three were hired at their host departments.

Fianna Fail spokesperson on jobs Dara Calleary said the fact that interns are not being offered jobs "completely undermines" JobBridge.

"We criticise private employers when they take on somebody to fill a gap and then don't offer them a role but it's very hard when the Government are actually doing that themselves," he said.

However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Protection emphasised that "jobseekers applying for internships in the public sector do so in the knowledge of a recruitment moratorium".

More than 50pc were aged between 25 and 34 years, while over 20pc were aged between 20 and 24 years.

Among the rest, 15 were aged between 45 and 54 and three were over 55 years.

Participants in the voluntary scheme - offering placements for a six or nine-month period - earned an extra €50 a week on top of their social welfare payment.

The Department of Justice and Equality have hired the highest amount of JobBridge interns - 103 over the past four years.

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has hired 43 interns.

Brendan Howlin's Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is in third place with 30 interns.

But only one intern managed to make it into Iveagh House at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's Department hired eight interns - none of who were offered jobs following their nine-month placements.

The Sunday Independent has also learned that two people completed internships with more than one Government department.

"One person completed their internship with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and also with the Department of Justice and Equality. The second person completed their internship with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as well as the Department of Justice and Equality," said a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Protection.

Currently there are just 15 interns in placement positions, however, the new data shows the broad range of job titles they have filled over the years.

Highly responsible roles including Legal Executive, Project Executive, Finance Executive, Project Manager, Records Management Officer, Risk Analyst, Telecoms and Network Engineer, Conservation Scientist, IT Developer, Marine Mammal Ecologist and Accounts/Payroll Clerk, were filled by interns.

Government interns have also been hired in various research, assistant and administrative roles at numerous divisions including broadcasting policy, child income support policy, international policy, social housing reform, immigration and courts policy.

According to the Department of Social Protection, in order for the scheme to be effective, it must "have the capacity to offer the broadest range of internships to respond to the needs and aspirations of jobseekers".

Government interns are often engaged in challenging and responsible work related to their academic qualifications, and, in some cases, are asked to sign confidentiality agreements. However, the departments are monitored under the same criteria as all other host organisations.

Today there are over 6,000 people on JobBridge placements and more than 34,000 people have availed of the voluntary scheme that is open to all individuals, irrespective of their skill levels.

Sunday Independent

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