Are government job schemes making it difficult for students to find work?

Job Search. Photo Credit: Kate Hiscock (flickr)
Job Search. Photo Credit: Kate Hiscock (flickr)
Job Search. Photo Credit: Kate Hiscock (flickr)
Job Search. Photo Credit: Kate Hiscock (flickr)

This week there was up roar among social care workers over government schemes being used by employers in order to reduce pay. This has become the norm for many positions. When scrolling through one of the many jobs sites, government initiatives such as community employment and JobsBridge schemes are easier to find than jobs where your degree is relevant.

Today the president of the Union of Students Ireland has called for JobsBridge abolishment. President of the USI Kevin Donoghue spoke to the Irish Examiner today and said that JobsBridge was ‘one of the worst things to happen to young people in Ireland in decades’. After some companies were barred from using it due to allegations of physical assault.

I interviewed Roisin Moroney, a social care worker on how she feels about their job being underminded by government schemes.

Can you explain where social care workers stand at the moment?

Social care workers are in talks to become a registered profession. This has been going on for a number of years and we hope that it comes into being in 2017. So, basically they’re setting up a board for social care wokers and you risk losing your licence for malpractice. Like the way it is for nurses or doctors.

How much should a social care worker be paid?

Well, the HSÉ have a pay scalle for social care workers, it begins around 28k and goes up depending on experiance and years.

What is the difference in social care and care assistance?

There is a bit of a grey area there with care assistances and social care workers. Care assistance usually work with people with disabilities or in nursing homes. Whereas, people in social care work with disabilities, intellectual disabilities, homeless, addiction, women’s refuge, children in care of the state.

On what grounds does the company you work for hire people?

In my job, they don’t hire someone without some kind of degree. They will hire students as they are working towards it and would have some experiance from placement. The majority of places will only hire you with experience and a degree.

Children. Photo Credit: Denis Mihailov (flickr)
Children. Photo Credit: Denis Mihailov (flickr)

What is it that is going on at the moment?

They have a new term, ‘night-sitters’, and they are paying them ten euros an hour. People who go for this don’t need a degree or any real experience and this is where it becomes dangerous. This is mainly in jobs where it’s under 18’s in mainstream care. They’re in care because their foster place broke down. So obviously they would have significant needs, so you need people who are qualified to deal with it. Night staff would also come across some of the most challenging behaviour as things tend to kick off during the night. For example if a child absconds from care they will have to go out looking for them. This also undermines the role of night staff who are trained.

How do you feel about these schemes?

There are so many social care degree programmes out there, there is about 7 or 8 in Dublin alone. But they are looking for people with no qualifications, so that they don’t have to pay them. So it’s the same as hiring a nurse who isn’t qualified.

As a social care worker do you feel that this undermines the profession?

Yes, definatly. Of course, having to go to college and get a degree and then there are positions opening up like this? It’s almost like they are calling us care assistances when it suits them. I understand that everyone would have to come under HIQA standards, especially in areas of disability and under 18s. But if this continues to happen then it willl just become the norm.

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