The JobBridge scheme is flexible enough for most businesses to benefit from – here’s how.


Internships were once fairly straightforward affairs. A business could take on a young person – either through a personal connection or an application process – and benefit from their labour while giving them valuable skills and a start in the industry. While doing this extra labour with a view to a full-time position, a person could sometimes even benefit from their Social Welfare payment – depending on the willingness of a Social Welfare officer to take the long-term view.

That has changed now with the introduction of JobBridge, the Government’s nationwide internship scheme. While JobBridge interns benefit from a €50 top-up on their usual Jobseeker payment, the Social Welfare powers-that-be are often cutting off payments for non-JobBridge interns. In other words, for the typical would be intern, JobBridge is the only game in town. That in turn applies to any business seeking the cheap, entry-level labour that internships offer.


Key Regulations

Fortunately, JobBridge is a relatively flexible scheme, and organisations of varying stripes can participate. The programme is open to host organisations in the private, public or community and voluntary sectors. Once you are a legal entity or a charity recognised by the Revenue Commissioners, and have at least one full-time employee (employed for 30 hours and subject to PAYE and PRSI), your organisation can participate.

The organisers are keen to protect current employees from exploitation, however, and that has led to some restrictions. You cannot provide an internship opportunity under the scheme to an individual that you have existing employment relationship with, cannot use the scheme to displace an employee, and cannot have paid vacancies in the area of activity where you are offering an internship. Anyone with plans to staff an entire team with interns will also be frustrated: companies with 10 employees or less can only offer one internship place. Companies with 11 to 20 employees can offer two places, while three can be offered at companies with 21 to 30 employees. After that, limits apply of 20% of an organisation’s workforce or 200 internships – whichever figure is lower.


Filling an Internship

To fill an internship, you will need to register with Jobs Ireland – this can be done here. After completing your registration, you can use your Jobs Ireland details to log in and draw up your advertisement on the JobBridge site here. You must specify how you want interns to apply, and can use a short application form. You’ll be notified once the internship is processed by the National Contact Centre (NCC), and your opening will be advertised on the JobBridge and Jobs Ireland websites. Aside from this, local employment services offices will also display placement opportunities nationwide, and you can advertise the placement on your own website.


After that, selecting the intern is done in line with whatever procedure you choose – the interested applicants should apply to you using the method outlined in your advertisement, and you can organise interviews. After picking your ideal candidate, their eligibility for the scheme will be confirmed by the Social Welfare authorities, and you can begin a (hopefully fruitful) working relationship.


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