From Mayo to Cork and Back

As an unemployed graduate in Ireland, it is not really that I feel ignored, but more so that I feel recognised for all the wrong reasons. That is as desperate, a source of cheap labour, exploitable.

I’ve just returned from an interview in Cork for a jobbridge position. I knew that it was being offered as a jobbridge internship, but I thought, naively, that perhaps they would consider offering me a little extra money if I became an intern. Surely if I moved such a distance to do the internship, they would offer a little extra money, perhaps transport, or free lunch. I thought, surely they know €150 a week is not a liveable wage?

I currently live at home with my parents in rural Mayo. Opportunities are few and far between here and I jumped at the chance of an interview. So I spent €50 on getting three separate buses to Cork and €30 on a hostel because the interview was scheduled early in the morning. Including money for food, I’d spent €100, my weekly income.

I arrived at the fairly dingy-looking office, to see that at least three others were being interviewed for the same position. The interview was with two individuals, who confirmed with me that I had been on the live register for 3 months. They went on to tell me that the position was a full time one, five days a week, and that I should keep my schedule open for some evening work.

I had discussed the internship with my parents prior to attending the interview and they said they would try to help me financially (my father is retired and my mother works as a carer for a relative). I thought I could muddle along, perhaps take up an evening course and make the most of training resources available in Cork that are severely lacking here in Mayo, some of which are free for jobseekers. It was made clear in the interview that this would not be an option. I should remain as flexible as I can – for €150 a week.

I have attended jobbridge interviews in the past, but none like this. The fact that I was being offered an unlivable wage was not even a talking point, it astonished me. Equally astounding was the commitment they were expecting of me when the pay was so meagre. Essentially, I would deprive myself for the sake of this company for nine months. After which time, they’d probably wash their hands of me.

I’m incredibly tired of job searching when almost every job I’d like to do is an internship. These schemes are not acceptable, it is really no surprise that the only “youth guarantee” which I know of in Ireland is emigration.



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