A JobBridge position and our position on JobBridge

By: Conor 26. February 2012 19:30

For information about what JobBridge is, take a look at the official website.

The basic idea is that companies can take on interns via the scheme at no cost to the company. The intern must be somebody who is currently claiming social welfare entitlements. In addition to their welfare payments the intern receives an extra €50 per week. This €50 is paid by the JobBridge scheme, not the company.

OMG, you bastards! 
You should be ashamed.
This can't be serious.
Blah blah…
Exploitation. Unpaid. Disagraceful.
JobBridge is the devil and you are a devil worshiper.

And so on and so forth.

The above is pretty much the standard reaction when you mention that you are hiring via JobBridge. Although these quotes aren't verbatim they aren't a million miles away from some of the tweets we received the last time we advertised a JobBridge position.

That was back in mid-September 2011. Roughly a month later, in mid-October Ian Richardson joined Redwind on the JobBridge program. The position advertised that we were looking for someone full time (40 hours per week) for 9 months (the longest period you can take an intern for). A few months into his internship we had the very great pleasure of informing Ian that we would be making him a permanent employee. The whole experience has been nothing short of exceptional and we are delighted to be back in the market for another JobBridge intern.

Nibbles & Claire Here is Ian getting a bit too friendly with my missus…

Yes there are companies out there who take advantage of this scheme with bullshit positions, I think we can all agree on that. But there are companies out there who offer extremely valuable training, jobs and skills via the JobBridge scheme.

And guess what, no one, yes NO ONE is forced to take a JobBridge position.

So with that said… If you don't want to take a position, don't apply*. And better yet, don't judge* and put down the people who have enough get up and go to actually take these positions. And let's go one step further here, stop whining about the scheme and maybe take a second to appreciate the enormous amount of value that it creates.

Despite popular opinion, interns are not working for free, they continue to receive their welfare payments and another €50 on top of that. It's not earth shattering cash cash money, no one is claiming that but it's a long way from nothing. Yes, the intern could just stay at home and still receive their welfare payment, but that's one thing I love about this scheme. As I said above, no one is forced to take an internship, no one is even forced to apply. If you would rather go out and work and learn new skills then you are exactly the sort of person who we want working with us. With JobBridge all of the applicants have already answered that question.

Let's take Ian for example. Ian joined Redwind with zero app development experience. In fact Ian joined Redwind with zero commercial programming experience at all. 4 months later he has worked on iPhone, iPad and Android apps for huge companies like Paddy Power, Heineken, Bacardi, Name That Movie, Eirgrid and a host of others. In a few short months on the JobBridge scheme he had built up a wealth of in-demand experience in a new, vibrant industry. Even if we hadn't of been in a position to hire Ian full-time, 3 months into his internship he was infinitely more employable than he had been when he joined our team.

For us, we were able to take a chance on someone who we thought was going to be a really good fit in our team but didn't have the experience to make an immediate impact. We are a small and young company, the fact that JobBridge removed the risk of doing so was of immense value to us. It's also important to realize the amount of time and effort that has gone into getting Ian up to speed and to a level were he can have a real impact in our business. Sure we could have hired Ian and had him making the coffee for 9 months but that's not what we're about. I've spoken to a lot of similar stage companies who have hired through JobBridge and they all say the same. It's not about taking advantage of free labour, it's about giving someone a chance and someone giving you a chance. It's about investing time, training up and transferring expertise so that you can get the intern to a point that you can hire s/he full time. The company might not be allowed to pay the intern but you better believe they are still giving a hell of a lot of value.

* Language toned down at the behest of my good "lady" wife

We are hiring a JobBridge intern.

Want the job?

It appears the wording of my basic description of JobBridge is confusing. For the record, the way the sentence is written and meant is that one of the requirements of applying for JobBridge is that you must be claiming welfare entitlements. Nowhere did I state or say that everyone on every type of welfare is entitled to apply. My apologies for the offense this ambiguation has caused.

Here is the wording from the FAQ on http://jobbridge.ie also linked to above:

In order to be eligible to participate in JobBridge – the National Internship Scheme an individual must be:
• Currently in receipt of a live claim (Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit/Signing for Credits) on the Live Register
• And have been in receipt of Jobseekers Benefit, Jobseekers Allowance or signing for Social Insurance Contribution Credits for a total of 3 months (78 days) or more in the last 6 months.

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