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A JobBridge report too far

A JobBridge report too far

10th April 2015

What’s bad in JobBridge is not bad in Maynooth?
The trade union Impact commissioned NUI Maynooth sociologist Dr. Mary Murphy to write a report on the JobBridge programme that says, ‘”The Government’s “one size fits all” JobBridge programme “needs to be dissolved”. The report says, “Some participants reported that they were receiving good work experience, others described the scheme as “very dispiriting” and there was a sense of exploitation.” So, all human life is there, just like in NUI Maynooth. But what’s bad in JobBridge is not bad in Maynooth?

Why not quote what the majority had to say?
The report says that “many graduates were engaged on JobBridge schemes, but research had shown that half of those would have got jobs anyway”. Maybe we’re a little thick at ISME but if half of these graduates ‘would have got jobs anyway’, why are they on JobBridge? It claims that “30 per cent of employers said they would have created new posts if they hadn’t been able to avail of JobBridge”. ISME would like to know how many employers were asked, what exactly were these employers asked (the shape of a question can determine the answer) and, most importantly why not quote what the 70%, the very large majority, had to say?

There may not have been any need for JobBridge programme
Like all State run schemes JobBridge is not perfect. Dr. Murphy admits to poor monitoring – something that won’t go down well with the Impact members who paid for this report. She doesn’t say that the usual poor regulation of such schemes by the public service is down to an organisation that doesn’t have any incentive or sanction to do its job properly. We’ll say that for her as we at ISME always welcome better regulation. How could we forget that it was poor banking regulation, by the State regulator, that helped destroy our economy – but no one, not even the regulator, was found to be to blame? Strange that. Indeed there may not have been any need for the JobBridge programme if the public service had done the job it’s well paid to do.

Employers do their training for free
ISME has 9,500 members. We’ll assume that our sample size is much greater than that of Dr. Murphy. We know that JobBridge is used by many smaller companies to take on junior employees who are not trained for the work they’re seeking by the universities and other educational institutions, one of which employs Dr. Murphy. The employer has to do the training. NUI Maynooth charges students for their training. Employers do their training either for free or at a cost to the employer.

F for fail
And why, we wonder, does the report say that ‘Internships should not be allowed at all in “low value-added” private-sector employment’ – one of the areas of greatest need for training to help the weakest move up the value chain? Sorry, we can only give this report an F for fail.