Written answers

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Department of Social Protection

Employment Support Services

9:00 pm

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Question 336: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the measures she will undertake to monitor compliance by employers with the requirements of the JobBridge scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9277/12]

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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The National Internship Scheme provides internship opportunities of either 6 or 9 months for unemployed individuals on the Live Register, in organisations in the private, public and community voluntary sectors. The scheme is limited to individuals who are currently on the Live Register and have been in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance/Benefit or are signing on for credits for at least 78 days in the last 6 months. Participation on the Scheme is voluntary.

The aim of JobBridge is to assist individuals bridge the gap between unemployment and the world of work. JobBridge aims to offer individuals of all skill levels, ranging from those who left school early to highly qualified graduates, a unique opportunity to develop new skills and earn valuable experience. JobBridge can offer a diverse range of jobseekers a chance that will at the very least improve their prospects of securing employment in the future. In this regard, you should note that the scheme is not designed solely for graduates, it is open to all individuals who meet the eligibility criteria irrespective of their skill levels. Low skilled individuals have a right to access an activation measure that is specifically designed to improve their skills, enhance their experience and improve their chances of securing employment.

Postings on the JobBridge website are monitored in accordance with the criteria governing the scheme. Internships not in accordance with the intent of the scheme are removed.

Control mechanisms and conditions have been put in place to protect the integrity of the scheme and to ensure that the intern and host organisation both benefit from the arrangement.

To ensure compliance, DSP are monitoring internships to ensure that they are of sufficient quality and that both host organisations and interns are abiding by the spirit and the rules of the scheme. Host Organisations must also complete monthly online compliance returns.

A ‘whistle blowing’ feature has been introduced where any individual who suspects that an internship may be in breach of the scheme’s criteria may contact the JobBridge team. All such claims will be investigated.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Question 337: To ask the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 193 of 6 December 2011, if she has awarded the contract for the evaluation of the JobBridge scheme and to whom; if so, when she expects the evaluation to be completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9278/12]

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, came into operation on 1st July 2011. As of 17th February, a total of 4,791 internships have commenced.

My Department has invited tenders for consultancy for the evaluation of JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme for the Department. Progression rates from JobBridge into employment will feature as part of this evaluation. It is anticipated that the successful vendor will be selected shortly.

My Department requires this Project to be undertaken to assess the design, delivery and impact of the JobBridge scheme on the unemployed. It should also assist the Department in making further policy decisions on the benefit of work placement programmes in the overall context of the Government’s activation policy which is to engage with every unemployed individual to provide them with a pathway to employment and to prevent and reduce long term unemployment

It is anticipated that the evaluation will be completed by the end of the first quarter 2013.

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