Tuesday 12 December 2017

Private school removes JobBridge positions after online backlash

THE principal of a private school in Meath who advertised teaching roles on JobBridge has withdrawn the advertisement saying he unknowingly wandered into a storm.

Dermot Dix, who runs the Headfort School Kells, originally posted job opportunities for interns for two combined language and sports teacher positions in the primary school.

The advertisement was created on Wednesday, July 29, but was removed yesterday following a backlash from teachers online.

The description on the JobBridge website had said that interns would "work as a team-member within the wider school staff, they will gain experience in managing pupils and how to set and mark assignments".

"On completion the intern will have attained skills in discipline, communication, language teaching, sports planning, team-work, interpersonal and general organisational skills."

The controversial Government JobBridge scheme sees successful candidates receive a nine-month internship programme, with the intern receiving an additional €50 per week on top of their social welfare payment.

Headfort School's advertisement on the website generated online backlash with one Facebook group, Voice for Teachers, raising concerns that jobs were being replaced by internships.

Mr Dix (52) told the Herald that he was unaware of previous negative media coverage of the JobBridge scheme.

He said the roles that had been offered were not full-time teaching positions and that the interns were being brought in to help out existing staff.

"I hadn't realised the furore around JobBridge. We'd never used it before and we weren't actually looking to hire anybody for 40 hours a week," he said.

"We had been thinking about getting a young intern or two, fresh out of school, to come in and help with a couple of aspects of school life.

"We don't actually have vacancies in the sense that no teachers have left or retired and our numbers haven't gone up."

"I really wandered into a storm without realising," Mr Dix added.


"Now that I've read more about how JobBridge is regarded, I don't think I'd ever want to be involved in it.

"I don't want to be associated with something that is seen as exploitive."

He said he now has to contact people that applied for the internships before the offers were removed.

"I've got a few applications in, but I'll have to write to those people and let them know that we won't be going ahead with the programme."

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