Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (367, 376)

Dara Calleary

Question:

367. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason that participants on JobBridge employed by a school in a non-educational capacity, in this specific case in a caretaker role, must give up their placement on 30 June despite there being a continuing role for them in the summer, and are subsequently deemed ineligible for another JobBridge placement because the placement was cut short; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30328/13]

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Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

376. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection if it is the case that interns on the JobBridge scheme at Cavan Institute, County Cavan, have been informed that they will be unable to work during the months of July and August; the reason for same; if she will immediately reverse the decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30630/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 367 and 376 together.

The Department takes the view that internships in the Education Sector are a special case where interns, who under the terms of the scheme are entitled to receive a high quality real workplace experience, are at risk of missing out on that high quality internship experience during academic holidays. I accept that there may be some circumstances where an education sector internship experience would not be affected by the academic holidays.

However, it would not be feasible to review and examine all placements advertised within the education sector on a case by case basis. Therefore, a clear and transparent operational decision was made that all such placements must coincide with the academic year. Deadlines have been introduced, before which and after which education sector internships will not be approved.

These deadlines have been clearly advertised on the home page of the JobBridge website since August 2012. All affected Host Organisations have been written to by the Department and have been requested to further remind their interns of the closing date for these internships.

The Department works with stakeholders to make JobBridge as easy to administer as possible but the first concern has to be for interns, to ensure that they are not idle or deprived of the high quality real workplace internship experience that they deserve and that is in the interests of the taxpayer as well as the jobseeker in maximizing their future employment opportunities.

The Department will however review the position in respect of the internships referred to by the Deputy.