Youth Council welcomes JobBridge review

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has welcomed the Government decision to conduct an external independent evaluation of the JobBridge scheme, but has warned that the value of the review will depend on the terms of reference.

The NYCI report published in February 2015 “JobBridge: Stepping Stone or Dead End?” examined the experience of young people on the scheme.* It found that while a majority were satisfied (57%) with their internship only 27% secured full-time employment following participation. It also  recommended that the scheme be reviewed and reformed.  

“This independent examination is welcome” James Doorley, deputy director at the NYCI, which represents youth organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide said, “but the terms of reference for the study will be important. We need a comprehensive review which will address issues such as progression to employment, the quality of internships and supports provided to participants, and the overall contribution of the scheme to employability and labour market policy.”

The NYCI study identified a number of deficiencies and a lack of quality. Mr Doorley said: “Deficiencies range from poorly designed internships, inadequate mentoring and instances of unacceptable treatment of interns to a lack of rights and clarity on rights. Other issues which emerged included insufficient monitoring, job displacement and inadequate income support.

“We made a number of recommendations including the need for further analysis to examine progression rates to employment on the scheme, a review of mentoring, reform of the monitoring by the Department of Social Protection and increased financial supports to interns.

 “JobBridge was introduced at a time of great crisis and when unemployment was soaring. Now as the economy recovers and employment slowly increases it is timely to review the scheme to ascertain the extent to which it is supporting jobseekers into employment and contributing overall to addressing unemployment. Based on our analysis we believe the scheme must be reformed and revised and hope that this review will contribution to that end,” concluded Mr Doorley.

The most recent figures from the department of social protection show that, as of 25 June, a total of 40,993 individuals had started a JobBridge internship since the scheme commenced, of which 11,346 were under 25 years of age. As at 25 June, there were a total of 5,258 individuals on a JobBridge internship, of which 1,369 were under 25 years of age.

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