We have now reached the half-time point in this JobBridge match and the whistle has just been blown. By whom? By the department of social protection of course!
Last week, a representative from the department -who for clarity and hilarity’s sake, I will dub Beyonce – visited my workplace to give a quick interview to both myself and my manager (separately, just in case I needed to rat her out I guess) to see how the internship was progressing.
The questions revolved mainly around the job description; was I learning about the factors that were advertised in the job description? Was I working the same amount of hours as advertised? Did I feel my mentor was actually mentoring me?
Happily, I was able to answer a truthful yes to all of these questions but of course, my curiosity made me enquire: what would have happened if I said no?
Beyonce seemed very upfront and was happy to chat about it. This is a summary of the information she gave me:
- If there was an issue, at first she would recommend you deal with it internally, just like any other job. However, she would say it to the mentor as sometimes it can help to have an outside person bring the matter to their attention. Beyonce also said that often interns don’t feel they have the same HR rights as other employees but that this is not the case.
- If the intern is still unhappy, then the department steps in to investigate. It was pretty unclear what happens during this investigation but what I took from it would be an ongoing investigation while you were still working there.
- Most people when they’re unhappy with the JobBridge position choose to leave the role instead of pursuing it, because of the “other consequences it might have in similar jobs”.
- After such a complaint, any organisation with the scheme will either be on orange alert – meaning the department keep a “close eye on them” during the next internship – or red, meaning they cannot hire any more interns through the scheme
I understand the logic behind asking the intern to approach the issue with the employer. Communication within your role is something you’d be expected to have in any position and if there’s a problem, you need to know how to approach it.
When it goes further than a simple conversation however the consequences to abusing the scheme are laughable. I assume you’ve heard about Munster Express’ whopping 2 month ban on hiring JobBridge interns after they were found abusing the scheme. And then it was only an explicit ban on hiring photographers, not for any other role in the organisation. TWO MONTHS. I’ve had Tinder flirtations last longer.
We can safely say the department don’t do enough to vet the positions available and there are very little consequences to abusing the system. But are interns who are mistreated doing enough? Do they actually bring their complaints to people like Beyonce and her department? Or are some happier to moan to their friends but think it’s just “part of the system” and they have to put up with it because it’s an intern? Are the people behind JobBridge being clear enough about interns’ rights and obligations? Probably not and they also need to be harsher on those who mismanage them.
I don’t think I can honestly advocate for the complete closure of JobBridge as a scheme since I’m benefiting so enormously out of it and I know for a fact I’m not the only one. But what about the people who are being so completely exploited? Can we not be trusted in this country to run decent employment schemes? IS THIS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS?! Sort it out Beyonce!