A TOTAL of 18 people are currently working within South Dublin County Council as part of the Gateway scheme and only one participant is employed under the JobBridge scheme.
The council was tasked with filling 215 such roles by the end of 2014; however, it has just managed to recruit 8% of its target, to date.
A spokesperson for the council told The Gazette that all those employed as part of the Gateway scheme are engaged in manual labour and that none are working in positions formerly held by regular council workers.
As part of Budget 2015, the Government announced an end to the recruitment embargo on local authorities, which was introduced in March 2009 following a Cabinet decision to introduce a moratorium on recruitment across the public sector.
Lucan Cllr Ruth Nolan (PBP) said she believes that the Government are using both the Gateway and JobBridge schemes to “massage the figures” for the national unemployment rate.
She said: “I believe that if somebody goes in to work for the day, they should get a proper wage. I hope that if the council does decide to bring in extra staff, that they won’t do so through JobBridge or Gateway.
“I don’t agree with these schemes at all, and I just think they’re fancy words for cheap labour. When people go out to work, they want to earn money to pay for their food and bills, and you’re not going to be able to do it on Gateway or JobBridge unless you’re living with your family – there’s no independence on any of those schemes,” said Cllr Nolan.
Clondalkin Cllr Trevor Gilligan (FF) said that he hoped the numbers working for the council on Gateway and JobBridge were higher.
He said: “I would have hoped that the numbers were far greater and I think the Government needs to do more to get people interested in taking up these positions.”
Responding to the criticism that both Gateway and JobBridge schemes received, a spokesperson from the Department of Social Protection said: “The objective of Gateway is to improve the employability and maintain the work readiness of jobseekers who are unemployed for two years or more.
“By participating in the schemes, participants should be more ‘job-ready’ and have a better chance of obtaining a job after completing 22 months’ work placement.
“JobBridge is a voluntary scheme. Interns choose to participate and choose the host organisation they wish to work for.
“The success of the scheme is entirely dependent upon host organisations offering internships, which inevitably leads to a very wide range of internships, which should offer a bridge to the rest of their working lives for the widest range of those on the Live Register, including the unskilled and inexperienced.”