Leo Varadkar confirms JobBridge could be axed

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed JobBridge could be axed as early as September.

Mr Varadkar told the Irish Examiner he is considering the future of the internship scheme.

“Indecon is currently evaluating the scheme for the Department of Social Protection, and will report back in September,” he said.

“The scheme has been very effective to date. Some 15,000 interns went directly into paid employment immediately following a JobBridge internship. Independent research indicates that this rose to 29,000 interns, or 61% of all participants after five months,” he added.

Mr Varadkar said he personally knows people who have benefited from it.

Leo Varadkar confirms JobBridge could be axed

“It is voluntary and nobody is pushed on to it. But it’s very much a scheme of its time, and I’m considering whether there is a better alternative. I don’t think it should just be scrapped.”

Confirmation its future is in jeopardy comes amid strong criticism that many firms, including state agencies, have sought to exploit JobBridge in a bid to avoid paying normal wages.

Last week, Junior Jobs Minister John Halligan said that the scheme “needs to be replaced”.

Fianna Fáil Social Protection spokesman Willie O’Dea said JobBridge has served a purpose but has been abused.

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