I have so far spent 1 year and 3 months on JobBridge. I’m on my second placement now – first place I worked at was a revolving door of interns (25% of the company were interns!!), my role was a high-responsibility, full-time job masquerading as an internship, where I worked longer hours than my superiors, and was treated like the office monkey (fetching their coffee, lunches, dry-cleaning etc ON TOP of meeting quite serious daily deadlines within the publishing/media industry)
As I am under 26 and live at home, I receive -and I shit you not- a measly €40 a week… With the €50 JobBridge allowance, that works out at €90…. Transport to my internship costs me €30, so that leaves me with just €60 a week- or €8.57 a day…
But then there’s my phone bill, food and monthly medical costs… I’m left with not enough money to survive on, let alone buy a coffee or even consider having an evening out with my friends. Despite what many of the employers who avail of the JobBridge scheme seem to think, you actually can’t pay for things with ‘valuable experience’.
Despite all the sweat and tears I poured into my first internship (working over-time, weekends, and twice being bullied in to coming into work whilst very ill, even when I had gone and paid the €65 doctor’s fee to get a sick cert just to prove how ill I was) they wouldn’t even consider hiring me, or any of my highly capable but burnt out predecessors/subsequent replacements… sure, why in the hell would they when they could just get another freebie graduate, who was just as desperate to get their pinky-toe in the door of a highly competitive industry. I swear that first JobBridge role sunk me into a dark depression, which might explain why I put up it for so long.
Anyway, my second and current role is an improvement, with nicer co-workers (who actually learn my name rather than call me ‘intern’ to my face) and in a non-profit sector so I feel less like an exploited doormat, but I’m furious that I’m still working full-time in JobBridge and not in an actual paid role.
I’m 23 years old – I was lucky enough to study abroad in London, which burdened my single mother terribly but she had wanted the best for me -and I had never expected to get accepted into such a prestigious university in the first place- and after four years of studying, I moved back home to Dublin. The naive idea was that I’d save money on rent, get a full-time paid role and be able to both save and contribute some rent to my single mother, and eventually move back to London where the real jobs were. Nearly two years later now and I’m still unemployed, but have been desperately interning ever since.
Anyway, I apologise for the long rant but I’m just sick to death of this stupid, incredibly flawed scheme that has swallowed up the few real graduate-level jobs there were and morphed them instead into exploitative internships that fudge Ireland’s disastrous unemployment/youth unemployment figures.