JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, has generated quite a deal of media commentary of late, some of it favourable, some of it critical. But what do recruiters make of it? We spoke with recruitment and career management expert Peter Cosgrove, who is a Director of CPL Recruitment. Here are his thoughts.
“I think the National Internship Scheme is good, because I have always believed people should do whatever they can do to get into the workforce. Getting into the workforce is a huge challenge for anyone who has been out of work for a period of time.
“There are lots of studies that show that many people who are out of work in their 20s continue to out of work in their 50s, so we need to look at the consequences of being unemployed.
“Yes, the scheme is open to abuse. The Government introduced it quickly – which was understandable – and there have been some teething problems, but I think it is now beginning to settle down. Perhaps there needs to be more publicity generated about people who have used the scheme to get into workplaces, and are getting on well. Certainly, the evidence I see on LinkedIn and other discussion boards is that many people are now thrilled to be getting a chance to prove themselves that they would not otherwise have got.
“That’s what internship is all about: a chance to prove yourself that you wouldn’t otherwise get. Many jobs require experience: but how do you get that experience? Internship can help to resolve that Catch 22.
“Internship has been around long before JobBridge, and it is very popular in other countries, and I think if you carry the right attitude into it, it can bring long-term benefits.
“People entering the scheme must carry out what I will call ‘due diligence’ before accepting a position. In some ways, the candidate should almost ‘interview’ the company. You should try to ascertain the enthusiasm of the company for the internship, the identity and enthusiasm of the person to whom you will report, the existence of clear objectives for the role, and the experiences of previous or current interns in the company.
“You are entitled to satisfy yourself about these aspects of the internship because you, too, are making a major commitment: you are devoting 6-9 months of your life to the programme, so you are entitled to calculate your prospects of benefitting from the commitment.
The things to watch out for including lack of engagement from the host company, a feeling that the company is just using the scheme to obtain free staff, and little or no information from the client about the exact role. Plus, another warning sign can be the presence of a group of interns in the company at the same time: this could be an indication they are just looking to the scheme for free staff.
Sli Nua Careers (Watson’s Lane, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo / Drum East, Bushy Park, Galway) tel 094 95 42965 /091 528 883, www.SliNuaCareers.com) help candidates get jobs by carrying out professional CV Preparation (face-to-face and online) and Interview Training (face-to-face and via Skype/video link-up).