Wednesday 25 April 2018

Liam Fay: A false economy as cheap labour and rickety internships get the hard sell

Liam Fay

An ability to breathe under water was not one of the skill requirements specified in last week's controversial JobBridge advertisement offering a nine-month 'internship' in cleaning at the Aqua Dome water park in Tralee. However, a demand for amphibious superpowers would hardly have been surprising. After all, the person originally envisioned as the ideal candidate for this janitorial MBA was clearly expected to possess some highly unusual physical attributes: most notably, the wetness behind the ears of someone who came down in the last shower.

Ireland's young people may be short of many things – work, money, prospects – but they are abundantly provided with the makings of bitter belly-laughs. The contempt in which unemployed twenty-somethings are held by the Government and much of the middle-aged establishment is breathtaking, as most recently evinced by the slashing of Jobseekers Allowance to €100 a week for under-25s. What adds a dusting of black comedy to an otherwise grim picture is the condescending claptrap that surrounds public discussion of youth unemployment – the pat on the head that accompanies the slap in the face.

Despite the demonstrable shortage of jobs, ministers use ever flowerier rhetoric to talk about job opportunities. New buzzwords and wheezes are routinely devised – the latest being the 'youth guarantee' that, on close inspection, turns out to be a guarantee of nothing whatsoever.

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