JobBridge under fire as trainees teaching courses

Joan Burton

Mark O'Regan

Instructors who were themselves on JobBridge internship and Tus trainee schemes were providing training courses for other jobseekers, according to an unpublished internal report.

It also found a range of “inconsistencies and concerns” in the operation of the controversial JobBridge scheme.

Some instructors – already classified as JobBridge interns – were providing training workshops “on their own”.

The primary purpose of the schemes is to try to help those unemployed get a foothold in the workforce by providing on-the-job and practical


Over 25,000 people have taken part in workshops and training courses operated by ‘Jobs Clubs’ over the past three years.

The initiative is operated by the Department of Social Protection, headed by Tanaiste Joan Burton. They are paid for by the department at an annual cost of around €6m.

The report found that certain Jobs Clubs were being operated by a private company whose performance level was below a recommended minimum target.

However, it was still allowed to continue operating three of these clubs.

The audit has also warned that “a lack of oversight” may lead to contracts being renewed in cases where minimum

standards are not being met.


It was also found there was no formal record of attendance for Jobs Club participants.

The decision as to what constituted an acceptable absence, for which attendees could be paid, was left to the discretion of local management.

Questions were also raised about Data Protection and practices regarding the payment of sick pay to staff.

Speaking to the Herald, Limerick TD Willie O’Dea called for a “root and branch” review. “It’s of questionable quality and totally inappropriate”.