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The Union of Students in Ireland has welcomed the scrapping of JobBridge and commended the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, on rebalancing decency and reducing exploitation in the workplace. USI said there was no need for a system webbed with pernicious practises as a pivotal point for jobseekers anymore because unemployment figures were dropping.

“JobBridge has done horrendous damage to young people and their perception of acceptable work practises.” Kevin Donoghue, USI President, said. “We welcome the scrapping of this system by Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar, and would like to congratulate him on this progressive step to rebalance decency and reduce exploitation in the workplace. The new system that replaces JobBridge must be of benefit to both the worker and the business – a good wage for good work – and must not be a new name on a structure replicated from JobBridge.”

Donoghue said the new replacement scheme should see internship terms significantly reduced from the current six-to-nine month practises currently in place to one-to-two months. He also said there should be no expectation of overtime, unreasonable commutes, or unfair work practises in the new system. USI is urging the Minister to put strict monitoring into place in the new internship scheme where if a company is reported for poor or illegal work practises, they should be disallowed to continue taking on interns.

“Leo Varadkar should be praised for getting rid of a system that has destroyed employment prospects for many of our generation.” Donoghue said. “JobBridge promotes unhealthy, unstable work schemes and exploits the time, energy and talent of young people. JobBridge is simply not the win-win programme it was pitched as. It’s a tax-payer scheme that allows businesses to breed inferiority complexes, poor working conditions and in turn, poor mental health such as anxiety, depression and despair in the youth.”

JobBridge will be discontinued in September.