Limerick school criticised for looking to JobBridge for staff


jobbridgeisscambridgelogoA LIMERICK city secondary school has been blasted by a former pupil and Socialist Party candidate after it posted five advertisements for workers on the state sponsored JobBridge website.

Ardscoil Rís, the all-boys school on the North Circular Road, sought applications for a cleaning assistant, a catering assistant, security personnel, a laboratory technician and a fifth opening for IT maintenance and training.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter activist Cian Prendiville says that the use of JobBridge by the school to get free staff and assistants is “shocking and exploitative’.

Mr Prendiville said, “The fact that a Limerick school, with the backing of the JobBridge and the Department of Education, is trying to get five workers to work in education for free is a disgrace. They are looking for full time cleaners, IT assistants, lab technicians and more who they would pay nothing but who would get an extra €50 a week in social welfare.”

The description details associated with the cleaning position available stated that the successful applicants would gain practical experience in the use of industrial cleaning equipment; stocktaking of cleaning materials; ordering stock as well as the maintenance and use of equipment.

On completion of the work placement, the advertisement said that “the intern will have attained skills in the planning and implementation of cleaning schedules; the provision of a high quality standard of work in a busy environment and communication skills.”

Mr Prendiville said that “in reality, these are not ‘internships’, they are jobs – unpaid jobs. All five of the ads inform applicants they will be expected to work on their ‘own initiative’. It is an absolute condemnation of this Government, and the last, that education is so underfunded. Instead of these free labour scams, real jobs should be created.

“Parents, teachers and students should all oppose this scam, which is a threat to them all. The teachers union in particular will have to discuss how they react, and should consider refusing to cooperate with the scheme and any positions created,” added Mr Prendiville.

The adverts have since been removed as the deadline has passed.

Limerick Fianna Fail TD Deputy Willie O’Dea, who is the party’s spokesperson on Social Protection, said that while five JobBridge vacancies seemed “pretty high”, he added that “schools are struggling at the moment with grants being taken away”.

Deputy O’Dea previously said companies abusing the system would be “removed from the list.”

The Department of Education and Skills said they were “aware of the positions that were advertised by a school in Limerick, some of which would appear to offer valuable training and work experience options for people who are currently out of work”.

In a statement, Ardscoil Rís school principal, Bríd de Brún said that the Board of Management of Ardscoil Rís was “fully compliant with the terms of the JobBridge scheme.”