There’s lots of valid debate on whether or not JobBridge should even exist. It’s reasonable to question this; we’re basically encouraging people to work for free.
As argued previously though, there are a handful of positives to the scheme, even if it has been developed in such a ham-fisted way. In light of the fact they’re trying to expand the programme, it seems unlikely we’re going to see the back of it anytime soon. But there’s no reason why it can’t be at least improved upon, it wouldn’t be difficult.
So being an entirely unexpert opinion, these are a few really simple ways that could make JobBridge an entirely more positive, less bureaucratic and an all over genuine productive work scheme.
- Better filters
This is a no-brainer. We’ve all seen the adverts for Deli Assistants, Shop Assistants. How on earth is this happening?
Given what I know about the bureaucratic nature of this scheme, there’s no way they have an automated system of adding internships. It’s definitely somebody’s job to sift through them and type them in laboriously (probably an intern, let’s be honest).
A simple checklist is all that’s required of every position to help ensure ridiculous, scammy positions don’t crop up in JobBridge.
– does this role require ANY skill to complete it? No? Then it’s not an internship.
Learning how to fill shelves, do stock control, fill cars with petrol and make sandwiches are things you learn in a week, not 9 months.
That simple question would save a lot of hassle straight away. It would instantly eliminate ads for call centre operatives, waiters and other bullshit “internships” that continually get through the net and drum up negative publicity for just about everyone.
- Open it up
JobBridge should be open to new graduates, even if they’re employed. Most graduates will work for less money than a standard minimum wage job if it means they’re actually getting use and experience for their degree.
I personally know one person who is understandably reluctant to give up their full-time supermarket job in the hopes that in 3 months time a suitable internship might crop up. He’s in the familiar graduate trap of ‘you need experience to get experience’ and, for now, is going nowhere career wise. If JobBridge were available to people who graduated in the last two years, regardless of their employment status, it could lead to a smarter economy.
It even says it right here on the JobBridge website:
“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.”
Stop contradicting yourself Social Protection Department.
- Get employers to contribute
Again, this should an easy decision. When you start a JobBridge role, you’re taken off the live register which is good for government news bites, but the state pays you €50 more, so you’ve suddenly become more expensive (albeit more bankable).
Why doesn’t the employer cover the cost of this extra money? It would make far more sense to leave the government’s contribution as it is and make the employers availing of this scheme to hire the interns for a rock-bottom price of €100 a week. The interns come out with more money overall and the state saves. It would also make certain employers value their interns more, since they’re not working completely for free for them.
And if the employer “can’t afford” €100 a week for a full-time employee? Then they shouldn’t be in business because they’re doing it wrong.
- The ONE thing you were doing right!
The Department of Social Protection had it right the first time; internships should be capped at 9 months. Internships are there as a learning position, a CV kick starter. Now there are plans afoot to be able to offer internships for a period of TWO YEARS.
Let that sink in for a moment. What do you think will happen to any incentive to create proper jobs when 2 year internships are the norm? If you answered “it will shrivel up until nothing but the empty husks of innovation are left being blown around the landscape” you are correct, 10 points to your Harry Potter house of choice (I’m Ravenclaw, in case you were wondering).
Now look at this post. Those are four ideas I drummed up on a notepad in half an hour that cost the State little money or, in some cases, actually save them money. And this isn’t even my job! Surely out of the billions of euro Irish governments like to throw around like confetti on random “consultant” fees, they could pay somebody to sit down and think about improving this scheme just a little bit and then implement their ideas. Surely somebody could come up with great ideas to kick my ideas’ ass?
I repeat, THIS IS NOT DIFFICULT! The only other possible option is that I am a super genius surrounded by talking monkeys but I sometimes put my jeans on backwards in the morning so this is probably not the case.