Tag Archives: JobBridge


From top: Joan Burton and Enda Kenny at a JobBridge announcement in 2013; Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar at the launch of the Indecon review of JobBridge yesterday at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin

Long live the new scam!

This morning.

Further to the announcement by Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar yesterday that JobBridge is to be wound down and that it will be replaced with another scheme next year – the details of which have yet to be released…

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, presenter Cathal MacCoille spoke to Alan Gray, economist and managing director of Indecon Consultants – which carried out a review of JobBridge and recommended it be changed.

From their discussion:

Cathal MacCoille: “First of all, JobBridge, how good was it for how many?”

Alan Gray: “It’s a very interesting evidence-based survey, Cathal, it was done by a team of Irish and international experts… and what it showed was very high levels of progression to employment. Now, those people previously unemployed, who were on JobBridge, have now found jobs.”


Gray: “64%.”

MacCoille: And that’s high is it?”

Gray:It’s extremely high.”

MacCoille: “How many of those, that’s good for them, but can you figure out how much of that was due to the pick up of the economy anyway, or because of them being on JobBridge?

Gray:That’s a critical issue and, as part of the analysis, a very detailed econometric research was done to compare how that group did, compared with a counterfactual of what would have happened anyway. And the result…”

MacCoille: “Let’s stop for a moment. You compared a controlled group who were on JobBridge, with a controlled group who weren’t?”

Gray: “Exactly.”

MacCoille: “And found what?”

Gray: “And it showed that JobBridge enhanced the probability of getting a job by 32%. That’s probably the highest impact on employment of any labour market programme.”

MacCoille: “How do you get to that conclusion?”

Gray: “Basically, what you do is you control for all other factors, it’s like a scientific experiment, Cathal, it’s like medical research. Where you get an exactly similar group on the labour market, who were unemployed, you track their employment outcomes and you compare it with those on JobBridge and you make sure its statistically robust and it showed that JobBridge had really a quite surprisingly positive impact on employment progression.”

MacCoille: “And yet, you’re, this study comes down for a replacement. Why?”

Gray: “It does, I think the merits of giving the levels of subsidy that the State gave for JobBridge – in a labour market where unemployment is much different than when this scheme was introduced has changed. There was also a number of very positive aspects of JobBridge but some areas of dissatisfaction…”

MacCoille: “With the money particularly?”

Gray: “Particularly.”

MacCoille: “No surprise.”

Gray: “No surprise on that, yeah.”

MacCoille: “Now, so, because there is going to be consultation before this, the precise terms and conditions, as I said, of this are announced for the new year. What, from what you’ve, this study, what would you recommend?”

Gray: “So the Indecon economists have recommended a much more targeted scheme. One where employers enhance skills – most employers already enhance skills as part of JobBridge but we want to ensure that a greater proportion of interns are learning new skills. We also want to ensure a lower level of State subsidy and contributions from employers, who are also benefiting…”

MacCoille:Because there was none on this scheme...”

Gray:There was none at all.”

MacCoille: “And you’re saying it should be what?”

Gray: We’re saying that employers should at least pay the top-up level which was €52 and that, after three months, all interns must receive at least the minimum wage.”

MacCoille: “Which is €9.25 an hour.”

Gray: “Exactly.”

MacCoille:What about, because this came up with JobBridge constantly and you can guess it will come up with whatever replaces it – regulation, investigation, ensuring that the spirit of the thing is actually the reality for everyone?”

Gray: “I think that was important, particularly in a scheme that was so large and was almost an emergency measure to the level of unemployment. It was hard to ensure adequate monitoring.”

MacCoille: “And was there enough?”

Gray: “I don’t think so, Cathal. It was understandable because the scheme was being introduced in a crisis period, it had a lot of benefits and interns but we’re recommending a more targeted scheme, probably a lower number of participants but more active monitoring and control.”

MacCoille: “The new scheme, as I understand it, would be the medium and long-term unemployed?”

Gray: “That hasn’t been decided yet. One of the benefits of the existing scheme is it was early intervention so that people, as soon as they became unemployed, once they were unemployed for a short period, they got the benefits of JobBridge – that kept them close to the labour market and probably enhanced the employment market.”

MacCoille: “Just coming back to the regulation issue…”

Gray: “Yeah.”

MacCoille: “…which is key. In terms of the way the, even the way the thing is regarded by everybody – quite apart from people who may have, you know, are losing out because they’re getting a hard time, they’re not getting what they should get out of the scheme – so, how should the regulation be better?

Gray: “I think case officers from the Department of Social Protection should monitor it at a number of points during the internship at the start, during the internship and at the end. But I think the regulation aspect has got more media attention than it actually deserves, Cathal. While there were problems, it wasn’t the major issue and 70% of interns experienced that they had quality work experience and that’s different than some anecdotal evidence that was reported in the media. And one thing to say on that is our research surveyed over 10,000 interns. So it wasn’t just a random bits of feedback and most interns were very satisfied/.”

MacCoille: “Sure, I suppose though, the problem is, if you’re one of the dissatisfied ones – and you’ve good reason to be dissatisfied, well then, that’s for you. That’s a real personal setback. And therefore, we need to ensure that that doesn’t happen, in so far as we can.”

Gray: “I fully accept that, Cathal. And that’s why we’ve recommended a tightening of eligibility criteria. A contribution from employers which will minimise the possibility of rogue employers using it and also enhanced monitoring.”

MacCoille: “And give them a greater investment in the thing – if they’re putting some of their own money into it.”

Gray: “Exactly.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: JobBridge on Broadsheet



A JobBridge ad for four journalists at the Metro Herald in 2014

RTÉ reports:

Internal auditors at the Department of Social Protection have found high-risk concerns over the manner in which employers were allowed to sign up to the controversial JobBridge internship scheme.

According to the unpublished report, a copy of which was obtained by RTÉ’s This Week, the department’s auditors expressed concern over a lack of initial validation of the employers’ eligibility and whether their use of interns could lead to the possible displacement of real jobs.

The report noted that under the system of initial self-declaration, “employers make a statement on their application that the intern is not displacing a job vacancy,” going on to add “it is not possible to verify whether or not the internship is displacing a potential job vacancy”.

The auditors also found no checks into whether employers – or hosts – had the appropriate form of public or employer’s liability insurance, potentially exposing the minister and taxpayer financially in the event of an insurance claim.

There you go now.

Listen back to the This Week item on JobBridge here

Report finds high-risk concerns over employers using JobBridge (RTE)

Previously: JobBridge on Broadsheet


Yesterday’s Sunday Business Post

Since 2011, there have been around 46,000 users of JobBridge placements.

Further to this…

Yesterday, the Sunday Business Post reported:

…the largest user of the [JobBridge] scheme over its five-year lifetime is the Health Service Executive (HSE), which used it a total of 399 times. The HSE used the scheme to fill 67 assistant psychologist positions, a grade which the Psychological Society of Ireland is demanding be established by the HSE as a full grade of paid employment.

The HSE was followed by the GAA (249 interns); Teagasc (184); UCD (184); computing giant Hewlett-Packard (176); SuperValu (161) and the ESB (157). There is no implication of wrongdoing on behalf of any of these companies.

…The scheme was also heavily used by a wide range of state bodies amid a hiring moratorium imposed during the economic downturn, with state bodies accounting for eight of the top 20 users of the scheme.

All employers contacted said that they stood by their use of the scheme and praised its usefulness.

In a statement, the largest user, the HSE, defended its use of the scheme.

It said that it made a decision at a national level to use the programme to support government policies around unemployment and job creation.

Due to the moratorium on recruitment, services such as psychology and speech and language therapy were diminished during this period. The scheme provided an opportunity for graduates to gain valuable clinical experience in their chosen fields, while at the same time delivering much-needed services to service users during the period of the JobBridge internship,” it said.

The Department of Social Protection is undertaking a review of JobBridge, but it is understood to be advancing plans to name and shame those found abusing the programme.

There you go now.

A full Sunday Business Post database of the companies which offered 46,000 JobBridge placements can be accessed here

JobBridge Uncovered: Intern labour staffed tech giants, HSE, supermarkets (The Sunday Business Post, behind paywall)

Previously: JobBridge on Broadsheet


Frank Gleeson (left) with Joan Burton


On Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One this morning, Keelin Shanley discussed JobBridge with Frank Gleeson, chairman of Retail Ireland and Managing Director at Aramark Food Services, and Laura Duggan, from Work Must Pay.

Mr Gleeson quoted figures he said came from the Department of Social Protection. To wit:

“[We’ve had] 17,500 host organisations. We’ve had 55% of internships advertised have been filled – so that’s a huge success. And we’ve almost had 42,000 people, young jobseekers, actually commence JobBridge with 37,000 completing it. And if you look at the progression from that, almost after 5 months, I think something like 60 per cent of them have gone on to get full-time or employment generally.”


Laura Duggan, from Work Must Pay, responded:

“Well according to the National Youth Council of Ireland, only 27% of JobBridge, people who complete JobBridge, actually go on and complete full-time employment. The rest of them end up in temporary, part-time or seasonal work.”

We don’t see [JobBridge] as the root of all evil or anything, it’s just a symptom of  much broader problems that are facing workers and unemployed people and young people in general.

But it’s a deeply, deeply flawed system when you’re talking about combating youth unemployment and when you’re talking about the likes of job replacement and job displacement.

JobBridge is being used by the likes of the HSE, all levels of Government and even the guards. People go in and do their nine-month internship with these companies, they’re not going to get work because there’s an employment embargo, it’s being used to fill, paper over cracks essentially by these groups.

We have companies, where we’ve protested, that have a track record of advertising for entry-level positions right up until the introduction of JobBridge in 2011. All these entry-level positions are no longer publicly advertised – you have to do your nine-month JobBridge before they’ll offer you it. You can’t go in to these companies any other way, you have to do your nine months of free labour.”


Listen back here

Previously: You Pay Noodles

Work Must Pay


Emydex Technology to create 20 software jobs in Dublin (Irish Times, May 28, 2014)


Emydex IT position (JobBridge) this morning


ML writes:

I rang Emydex in the last hour and asked how many people are employed there. the contact person, said there were about thirty.
Given that at the time of the Times article/Job Creation announcement (top), there were 22 employees, and just eight employees later they seek a JobBridge Intern, means the announced job-creation may not be the joy it was made out to be. As to whether the internship might lead to full-time employment, I was told yes, ‘all’ the JobBridge internships they take on are with a view to a full-time position in the company. JobBridge positions? They’ve obviously indulged in the past. More than once. Is THAT what Richard Bruton was excited about?


A JobBridge advert for a clinical psychologist in Waterford

Further to yesterday’s post about  the HSE advertising for a Waterford-based clinical psychologist on JobBridge…

Sorcha Pollak, in the Irish Times, reports:

The HSE has defended its decision to post a job opening for a clinical psychologist in Waterford on the JobBridge website, saying the position would ‘provide a stepping stone’ for jobseekers…

‘The aim of the National Internship Scheme is to assist in breaking the cycle where jobseekers are unable to get a job without experience, either as new entrants to the labour market after education or training or as unemployed workers wishing to learn new skills,’ said the statement from the HSE.

There you go now.

HSE defends JobBridge post seeking psychologist (Irish Times)

Previously: Inhuman Development