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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Irish companies lining up to take interns in new scheme

Rosemary O'Grady

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton today revealed that 1,000 places have been offered in the new JobBridge initiative launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny this morning..

Ms Burton said that it was envisaged that prestige companies such as Hewlett Packard, Google, Facebook and the ESB would take on at least one intern with the possibility of some larger companies taking on between five and 10 workers.

A total of 500 companies have already signed up to the scheme including the Quinn group, Smurfit Kappa, Mercury Engineering and Aer Lingus.

The new scheme is a two year internship programme offering work placements to 5,000 people currently on the live register in the hope of giving them the chance to get a foot on the employment ladder.

JobBridge - the two-year national internship will be offered in companies in the private, public, voluntary and community sector. Offering an additional €50 a week on top of their existing social welfare payments placements, the scheme will last between six to nine months and is open to anyone who has been signing on for at least three months.

Companies offering places must have at least one full-time employee and the intern cannot displace any existing staff.

The Union of Students of Ireland (USI) President Gary Redmond however said he was concerned about the three months on the dole timeframe, which he stressed would be unattractive for graduates just completing college.

He also pointed out that many graduates would not qualify for full job seekers benefit. He wasn't convinced that the 5,000 internships would be sufficient in the current downturn.

However Ms Burton made it clear that this was a "very important stepping stone to employment" and promised that if there was a positive response, the Government would expand the scheme.

She said people could log on to to see what was on offer from the time the scheme would come into operation at the beginning of next month.

This was a measure to try to get people without employment experience in the workforce, she added.

Business groups IBEC and Chambers Ireland welcomed the scheme. Ian Talbot Chambers Ireland Chief Executive said: “This will enable participants to gain invaluable work-place experience while also contributing to the operation of the business.

It is hoped that many of these companies will in turn be able to offer employment opportunities as result.”

IBEC Director General Danny McCoy said it will be promoting the scheme among its members: “The scheme provides those seeking employment with the chance to gain valuable work experience, maintain close links with the labour market and enhance their skills. We strongly support it.”

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