For the second time I’ve come across the press notice (above) from the Digital Skills Academy, highlighting not the fact that WebElevate is a springboard programme set up to get the long-term unemployed back to work through upskilling and industry experience, but that businesses can get their digital products developed for free by these students.
What strikes me – and upsets me – most is how brazen the DSA are in telling the world that this programme is about getting unemployed people to work for free.
I’m sick to death of hearing government representatives and the business elite prattle on about Ireland’s burgeoning tech sector when I’m all too aware of the reality of exploitation that goes with it.
Graduates of the WebElevate programme – talented and accomplished as they may be – have nothing to look forward to but recruitment ads for social media interns, unpaid content roles or an entry-level position that requires a high-level skillset all because someone in HR thinks, ‘Sure any tech-savvy teenager can code so why
should I pay someone good money to do it.’
Developers, programmers, web designers, content strategists – they have enough trouble trying to get Irish businesses to cop on and realise that their work is valid, not something that any old intern can do.
WebElevate and other programmes like it only serve to condemn those trying to break into the tech industry to a career where they will have to struggle to get paid for work that they produce.