Students hope to stop emigration with 'internships', but enterprise and jobs are what's needed.
Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 08:25 AM
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The Union of Students in Ireland's daring bid to stop Irish student emigration by creating internships doesn't seem to be making much headway.
The glossy new policy document launched this September to help halt student emigration through a €52m internship creation programme seems to have vanished off the news pages,.
Perhaps the answer is because it will probably do little to solve or help the emigration problem.
The USI- the representative body of most Irish third level college students - does more 'slamming','hitting out' and marching than most other Irish trade unions combined, though seems unable to come up with meaningful solutions to assist the thousands of Irish students caught in this predicament of emigration or unemployment.
The idea behind this 'programme' they're offering is to offer employers fixed term PRSI rebates in exchange for keeping graduates on in full time employment after an initial internship period; the Union claims that this policy, to be implemented across both the public and private sectors, will take 20,000 off the Live Register (Ireland's unemployment register).
The problem, though, is that internships - usually either unpaid or poorly remunerated - are far down the priority list of most Irish students faced with the dilemma of leaving their home and family out of a want of other opportunities, and even if some of them are paid, students can't rely on an employers' tax rebate as an incentive for hirers to keep them on in the long run.
Parents struggling to make ends meet won't be too keen either on finding out that their children are on internships with only a possibility of getting a real job after all their effort getting Masters degrees in college.
I think a better idea would be a framework for bettering student enterprise, and making it easier for graduates to either join existing businesses, or even start their own ones. This way students could look forward to making their own opportunities, and maybe even giving jobs to other ones in the process.
Sold job prospects and not nebulous 'public sector internships' are what will make students think twice before hopping on to an Aer Lingus flight for JFK, and encourage them to stay in Ireland.
Yet it's probably too late for that now, as over 100,000 young Wild Geese have already left.