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New apprenticeship scheme must be transparent and accountable – Quinlivan

23 August, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Maurice QuinlivanTD, has called for the introduction of legislation establishing a national apprenticeship scheme that would enshrine in law protections for trainees.

Speaking today Deputy Quinlivan said:

“I am calling on the Minister for Social Protection and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to bring forward legislation ensuring that all future internships are benevolent acts from which the employer can derive no immediate financial benefit.

“The appalling exploitation of people under the shambolic JobBridge scheme must never again be allowed to happen.

“This much discredited scheme is about to be scrapped so the government have a golden opportunity to embark on a new and innovative  national apprenticeship scheme and ensure we have skilled people for the future.

 “The recovery in the economy has brought a revival in traditional apprenticeships, in the construction and engineering trades and it would be extremely foolish for the government to squander this opportunity.

“Going forward we need a scheme that does not displace work, depress job creation or facilitate wage avoidance.  We must also ensure public subsidies are not misused to place other employers at a competitive disadvantage.

“Monitoring mechanisms must be a key part of any legislation to safeguard against abuse and ensure interns have a meaningful work experience at national and sectoral level.

“Monitoring must be undertaken to ensure compliance and to identify support needs. Trade unions, employers, youth sector NGO’s and the Departments of Social Protection and Jobs would all play a central role in this process.

“Going forward, the names of all employers participating in the scheme must be open to the public. This would act as an additional incentive to ensure the proper use of the scheme.

“What we need is a scheme that is fully transparent and accountable in terms of the use of public money and the protection of workers’ rights.”

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