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Local authorities have kept on just 27 JobBridge interns

That’s out of more than 1,200 who have completed placement with county councils.

JUST 27 JOBBRIDGE interns hired by local authorities have been kept on after their interships, out of more than 1,200 people who have worked with county councils as part of the scheme, new figures reveal.

The authorities have now been accused of ‘taking advantage of free labour’.

Figures released in a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh reveal that local authorities, including some now disbanded town councils, across the country have taken on 1,246 JobBridge interns since the scheme was launched.

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The same TD last week slammed council libraries for using these interns, saying the scheme is used by the Government to lower unemployment figures.

The new figures show 143 interns are currently on placement with local authorities.

The total number – those who have finished and those are currently working – is highest in Cork County Council.

It has taken on 116 interns, followed by Galway with 113, Donegal with 101, and Mayo with 97.

JobBridge Local Authorities

A total of 27 were kept on, and 242 got a job with another organisation.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy noted this means just 21% gained employment, which is less than a third of the 61% figure often cited by Government of the number of interns who go on to full-time employment.

“The figures don’t stack up,” he told TheJournal.ie.

It’s just more graphic proof that JobBridge isn’t about getting people back to work.

“The scheme is an exploitation of vulnerable people who want to be out doing something.”

The Scambridge.ie campaigns Paul Murphy at a ScamBridge protest. Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Murphy noted that previous figures have shown Government departments using JobBridge, also with a low rate of interns gaining full-time jobs.

“It sends a message to private companies that it’s okay, this is what it can be used for.”

“There’s no question about it – it’s being used as temporary staff filling in for other positions. That’s not what JobBridge is meant to be, in theory, but that’s clearly what’s happening.”

A statement from the Department of Social Protection said:

An independent evaluation of JobBridge undertaken by Indecon International Economic Consultants found that there is a higher rate of progression into employment among participants who completed their internships in private sector organisations, at 54.8%, compared to 41.2% among participants who undertook their internship in a public sector organisation and 43% within the community and voluntary sector.

“It was also found that, in every sector, JobBridge internships are providing effective and high quality real-workplace experience to break the cycle where the unemployed, even those with good vocational or academic qualifications have difficulty securing employment without demonstrable work experience,” it added.

The benefits gained by interns in private, public and voluntary sector host organizations significantly improve their employability and facilitate them in gaining employment either with their host organisation or with another employer.

Read: Fully-qualified solicitors doing a JobBridge? It’s ‘a joke’ >

More: Council libraries are using JobBridge for ‘free labour’, says Sinn Féin >

Opinion: JobBridge has very vocal critics, but it’s delivering results for thousands of young people >

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Nicky Ryan

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