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JobBridge is being reviewed - and may be scrapped altogether

The scheme has been widely-used, but never without controversy.

Updated at 11pm

THE DEPARTMENT OF Social Protection is to commission an external review of the controversial JobBridge internship scheme.

The Department says that the scheme, which was announced as a two-year pilot programme in 2011 but has been renewed year-on-year since, will be completely assessed to see if it is suitable an effective.

The review will be ready in late 2016, the Department says and will examine a number of aspects of the scheme, which allows unemployed people take internships and receive an extra €50 a week in social welfare.

Employee progression, the extent of job offers and development of interns will all be reviewed.

The system will also be reviewed for employers, reviewing whether it has caused displacement, changed hiring practices or if JobBridge interns are treated differently.

The system has provided some 42,000 internships for unemployed people since 2011, but has been repeatedly criticised for both the nature of some of the jobs and what some perceive as its use in massaging unemployment figures.

The Department says that it is reviewing the scheme due to Ireland’s economic recovery.

“The economic environment today is very different than it was 4 years ago. Real jobs are being created and the level of unemployment has consistently fallen to a new low of 9.7%. The Department of Social Protection is eager to review and revise the scheme to take account of the changed economic circumstances and operational experience.”

Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh says the scheme should be scrapped.

“JobBridge displaces jobs, displaces paid employment, and has been open to abuse since it was set up in 2011.”

Read: Headfort headmaster: I was wrong to look for JobBridge interns

Read: We’re a group of young people who picket JobBridge businesses. Here’s why

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