The controversial JobBridge scheme, brought in in 2011 as an initiative to help the unemployed get work experience, will be wound down from this Friday, Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar has announced.
The minister said that those on the scheme currently would be able to finish their internship but that a new scheme will take place of the scheme going forward. The new employment scheme will be introduced for jobseekers in late 2017.
The new scheme will likely have employers making some form of contribution for being included in the scheme which will reduce the possibility of exploitation of the scheme and the new scheme will see jobseekers earning at least the minimum wage.
Some jobseekers on the JobBridge scheme were felt to have been exploited by some companies and that along with the small top-up payment of just €52 per week, led to heavy criticism from the beginning by certain groups and political parties.
A report launched by Indecon International Research Economists found that the scheme had been successful in helping people return to the job market. Over 10,500 interns who had gone through the JobBridge scheme took part in a survey for the report. In total, 64.2% of people who had gone through the scheme were now employed. In terms of intern satisfaction, the responses varied under different aspects. However, over half of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the value of the JobBridge top up payment, and three out of 10 didn’t believe the scheme met their expectations.