Saturday 21 April 2018

Wanted: qualified vet for €50 a week for JobBridge post

A veterinary practice in Co Cork has defended offering a JobBridge position for €50 per week
A veterinary practice in Co Cork has defended offering a JobBridge position for €50 per week

Greg Harkin

THE union representing vets says it has written to the Department of Social Protection to protest over the inclusion of vet positions on JobBridge schemes.

A practice in Co Cork has defended offering a JobBridge position for €50 per week.

The Corrin Veterninary Hospital in Fermoy, Co Cork, is seeking a fully qualified vet for the position which has sparked criticism from fellow vets.

Owner Sean O’Sullivan said: “It’s just someone to help out around the yard. It’s a veterinary assistant we are seeking. I have no further comment to make.”

Although the position is advertised as a ‘veterinary assistant’ applicants must hold a full veterinary medicine degree.

Anyone interested in the position must be prepared to work 40 hours per week for €50 on top of their social welfare payments and be "honest, hard-working and reliable".

The advert states: “The intern will receive formal/informal training in scanning and radiography, management of neonates, treatments of young animals and laboratory assistance."

But Veterinary Ireland, the profession’s union, says it has asked JobBridge to clarify if vet positions should be included in the scheme.

Chief executive Finbarr Murphy said: “We became aware of a similar JobBridge advertisment in Co Donegal last month and wrote to the Department of Social Protection to express our concerns.

“As far as we are concerned once a vet graduates after completing a comprehensive and intensive five-year degree, he or she is entitled to practice and doesn't require training.

“There is the wider issue here where many of our young graduates are unable to get jobs and more than half of them are emigrating because the UCD degree is recognised across the world.”

Declan Gill, a Limerick-based vet who ran for election to the regulatory body the Veterinary Council of Ireland this month, told The Herald: “I am very disappointed to learn that some veterinary practices have attempted to hire newly qualified vets through the JobBridge programme.

“With absolutely no disrespect to JobBridge, I feel that it is wholly unsuited to a professional degree such as Veterinary Medicine."

Many young vets are being forced to emigrate. One veterinary position advertised on Australia’s Gold Coast yesterday comes with a salary of €120,000-a-year.

A spokesperson for the Veterinary Council of Ireland said: "The Council has no rules on Job Bridge.

"The Council understands that the Job Bridge Scheme,which was established under the auspices of the Department of Social Protection, is designed to provide those in receipt of social welfare payments for at least three months to avail of a training opportunity in a structured way with obligations set down for both the employing organisation and the intern.  

"The objective of the internship is to provide interns with an opportunity to keep close to the labour market while gaining valuable experience in a working environment.

"The Council acknowledges that there are pluses and minuses to the Job Bridge Scheme however it is perfectly legal for such an internship to be offered by an employer.  The Council also acknowledges that it is disappointing that new graduates cannot find suitable positions and have to rely on social welfare."

A representative for the Department said that according to records a total of 65 internships have been provided in veterinary positions since the JobBridge Scheme commenced, three of which were as veterinary surgeons.

“These internships have now finished, and two of the participants progressed into employment with either the host or another organisation immediately on completion of the internship, which represents a very favourable progression rate,” they added.

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