I opposed its introduction. I supported NQTs when they looked for a directive against participation in the Work Placement Programme (JobBridge’s forerunner). It is important to remember that the CEC opposed that directive and argued at the Special Conference which discussed the issue that we should allow WPP into our schools in order to give NQTs the opportunity to gain experience and get their probation completed. The call for a directive against participation was overwhelmingly backed, with only the CEC voting against.
When the WPP became JobBridge, and a new directive against participation was issued, it emerged that a small number of principals were intent on ignoring the directive. I was one of a tiny number of INTO members who monitored the JobBridge website and who initiated complaints using the INTO disciplinary process against principals who we felt were in breach of the directive. I, and those others, travelled the length and breadth of the country to attend arbitration hearings in order to protect the integrity of our directive and ensure that JobBridge was stopped.
When I stood for election to the Teaching Council last year, one of the issues I campaigned on was opposition to JobBridge. The newly elected Teaching Council agreed a policy stating that probation could no longer be completed using JobBridge or similar schemes (‘or similar’ being important because JobBridge has now been wound up but a replacement scheme could well be on the way). So I opposed JobBridge and successfully took action to ensure that it was ended.
I volunteered to serve on the INTOs Employment Task Force in 2011. Ireland was in the teeth of recession. At that time our members were very concerned about the impact of staffing cuts on the employment prospects of new entrants to teaching.We were also concerned about how difficult new entrants found it to achieve their probation. Many non-teaching graduates were forced to emigrate or else opted to join internship schemes in order to gain some experience in the workplace. The INTO was the only union to totally oppose the JobBridge Scheme. I represented 3000 teachers in 300 schools in South Dublin and Wicklow. While I was District Rep. no school in our District ever participated in the JobBridge scheme for teaching positions.
I am glad that the JobBridge Scheme no longer exists and especially glad that our union has doggedly and determinedly delivered virtually full employment for our members and a fairer access route to full Teaching Council Registration through paid employment.