Ireland’s National Internship Scheme, also known as JobBridge, was in place between 2011 and 2016, and in excess of 40,000 internships were commenced during that period across the private, public and voluntary sectors. This study examines the use of JobBridge and other internship schemes in five of Ireland’s National Cultural Institutions during a time of high unemployment and an extended recruitment moratorium in the public sector. The findings were based on a series of interviews with arts managers within host organisations to broaden the field of research on the use of internships in the arts and cultural sector by focussing on institutional perspectives. The paper concludes that JobBridge had many short-term benefits for the National Cultural Institutions consulted, but that the scheme was a short-term solution to a much greater staffing crisis in the public and cultural sector, as evident by the highly qualified and experienced jobseekers knowingly undertaking internships with no progression routes within those organisations.
JobBridge; internships; unemployment; national cultural institutions; passionate labour; social capital