independent

Saturday 21 September 2019

Hiring an Intern under Jobbridge adds new talent to the workplace

Your one stop shop for expert, independent money advice Q&A

Q. I own a small company and am thinking of taking on an intern for my sales and marketing department under the JobBridge Scheme. Can you give me any further details on what's involved?

A. The JobBridge scheme was introduced in July 2011 and provides work experience opportunities for unemployed people. Participants are offered a six or nine month internship with a host organisation and can keep their welfare payments as well as receiving an additional allowance of €50 per week. To qualify, interns must be receiving certain social welfare payments or have been signing for credits for at least three months.

If you wish to be a host organisation under the scheme, you must meet certain criteria. For example, your business must currently have a minimum of one full time employee, the internship must not be in an area in which you currently have a vacancy and current employees may not be displaced by an intern. Further details of conditions of the scheme can be found on the JobBridge website.

Before you can advertise a vacancy for an internship, you must register your organisation at www.jobbridge.ie. Once registered, you then complete an online application form with details of your internship. When your application has been processed, you will receive an email from JobBridge confirming that your advertisement has gone live or informing you that your application was unsuccessful, along with details of the reasons for this.

Candidates will then apply to you directly using the method you have specified. When you have selected a potential intern, you must then log on to the JobBridge site to complete a Standard Agreement and download an Eligibility Form for your prospective intern to take to their local Social Welfare office. Once the candidate's eligibility has been established, you will receive an email from JobBridge confirming this and your intern can then start work the following Monday.

As soon as the internship begins, make sure to input the start date using the JobBridge website. You will also need to complete a monthly "Compliance Check" online, to ensure payment of the intern's allowance and that the internship is progressing appropriately. When the internship has finished, you will need to complete a Reference Form for your intern, which they can use to help secure future employment. There is a six month cooling-off period before you can hire another intern for the same position. However, you can take on an intern in a different area of your business immediately.

Hiring an intern under the JobBridge scheme can enhance performance and add value by introducing fresh talent and new ideas into your company. The internship will also allow you to assess whether the candidate would be a good fit for a permanent position within your organisation should one arise.

However, it's important to note that your application to be a host organisation under the scheme will only be approved if you can demonstrate that you'll provide significant learning opportunities for your intern, together with the chance to gain broad and practical experience.

Make sure you factor in the associated costs in administrative and supervisory terms and are prepared to invest the necessary time and effort into education and training. If you do so, the experience should prove to be a mutually beneficial and rewarding one.

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