Wednesday, July 16, 2014

16/7/2014: What Exactly does JobBridge Public Sector Record Tells Us?

We are all familiar with the JobBridge scheme run by the Irish State:

  • Young people are 'incentivised' into 'apprenticeships' where they are paid social benefits plus EUR50/week by the State to work on 'enhancing their skills'. 
  • In many cases (majority?) there are no real skills training components to the scheme and instead people are used as cheap labour.
  • In theory, upon completion of the scheme they are prioritised into hiring, since (in theory again) they have acquired new skills (of importance to their employer) and have established a proven track record of work.
So there can be two reasons why a JobBridge participation may result in not employing the intern:
  1. Intern proves herself/himself to be unsuited for the job (bad skills or bad aptitude etc); or
  2. JobBridge internship was set up not to lead to employment (in other words, from the start it was used as a vehicle for obtaining cheap temporary help).
Now, take this fact
"The Department of Social Protection has confirmed that 261 interns have worked at departments since the back-to-work scheme began, of whom 233 finished their internships. None were offered permanent jobs because there is a moratorium on recruitment in the public sector, which only allows staff to be hired in exceptional circumstances." 

So, let's ask: 
  • Was the reason that all 233 interns were not good enough for the job (remember, the article cites some instances where hiring was done, for the positions interns held, but not of interns themselves)? How can this be true if we have 'the best educated workforce in the world'? And if JobBridge is a 'competitive hiring scheme' where there is pre-screening of the candidates for suitability going on? or
  • May be JobBridge was set up - in the case of these 233 internships - to extract cheap labour? Surely the Government would not do such a dubious (ethically) thing as deceive young unemployed into a promise of a reasonable chance of gaining a job at the end, while knowing that "there is a moratorium on recruitment in the public sector, which only allows staff to be hired in exceptional circumstances"? Surely not!
So which one is true, then (because there is no other, 'third' truth possible)? Our education system produces bad crops of candidates unsuited for employment in our excellence-focused public sector? Or our State Training Programmes are run with ex ante expectation of not hiring people completing them?
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