Minister of State Kevin Humphreys welcomes report by IMPACT on JobBridge


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The Department of Social Protection has welcomed the report by the Education Division of IMPACT, which was published today (Monday, 13 April 2015). The report acknowledges that JobBridge was introduced in 2011 when the country was in the middle of the worst recession in living memory, with Live Register figures of nearly 460,000, high levels of involuntary emigration and a negative economic growth.

Kevin Humphreys TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Employment, Community and Social Support, said: "I welcome the IMPACT report on JobBridge and will consider all recommendations. I have met with JobBridge interns who have completely changed their careers and successfully use the JobBridge scheme to combat the problem of not being able to get a job without experience nor experience without a job. Research shows the longer you are out of work, the harder it is to get back to work. JobBridge is designed to break that cycle."

"Now that we are in a very different place to where we were four years ago when JobBridge was launched, it is only right that the scheme should be reviewed and revised to take account of changed economic circumstances and operational experience. Accordingly, an in-depth econometric evaluation of jobseeker outcomes from a range of activation programmes, including JobBridge, will be undertaken this year and will provide a sound evidential basis upon which to consider how the scheme can be improved. The suggestions outlined in this report will be taken into account as part of this evaluation."

In relation to specific recommendations in the IMPACT report, it recommends that JobBridge internships should not exceed 5% of all Active Labour Market Programme places. There are currently around 106,000 places (excluding apprenticeships and Post-Leaving Certificate places but including VTOS and Youthreach), so the average of 6,000 internships at any one time is consistently around the 5%.

The report also recommends that interns should receive the National Minimum Wage. However, it also sets out six criteria, based on a Judgment of the United States Supreme Court, for when the National Minimum Wage should not apply. All six of those criteria apply to JobBridge internships. Where a host organisation is in a position to fill a position on the National Minimum Wage they are already directed not to take on a JobBridge intern.

An independent evaluation of the JobBridge scheme, conducted by Indecon Economic Consultants in 2013, found that three in five participants in JobBridge secure employment following their internship.

The evaluation showed that 61% of interns progress to paid employment after completing their internship. The 61% progression rate for JobBridge is among the best in Europe, where progression rates for similar internship schemes average just 34% .

The Indecon evaluation report also found that:

  • 96% of host organisations would recommend JobBridge to another employer
  • 89% of interns stated that JobBridge had given them new skills
  • Interns found that they also benefitted from:
    • an increase in their self-confidence
    • the opportunity to gain quality work experience
    • the opportunity to establish a network of contacts

Following discussions with the Labour Market Council, a third independent evaluation of the JobBridge scheme will be conducted later this year.

PRESS RELEASE ENDS

Last modified:13/04/2015