I have just graduated from Ballyfermot College of Further Education, having studied animation for five years and for the last two years, I have struggled financially, due to problems with the VEC grant office not offering grants to degree students in Ballyfermot.
What I would like to talk about though, is how I got offered an internship with a media production studio. I was also signed onto the dole. I assumed that doing an internship without payment and receiving the jobseekers allowance would have been okay. But when i was signing on, I was told a different story.
I told the welfare office that i was starting an internship, the officer behind the desk said that I should get a form from the place ill be doing the internship and then drop back to social welfare with the form. So I emailed the guy from the studio, but he didn’t understand about the form and told me to ask the social welfare office again.
This time, I was told to get a FÁS form but I told her that the internship was not through Fás and that I applied for it somewhere else.
This is where it became ridiculous. The woman then told me that I would have to sign off because I am only on the dole for 37 days and that i would need another 41 days to be able to apply for an internship through JobBridge.
I then asked her what would happen if I applied for this internship without it being through JobBridge. She replied saying that I would not get the extra 50 euro added to my jobseeker. So I asked her would I still get the job seekers. She said no.
I went away confused and shocked, knowing that if I did do the internship I would have no money.
I really wanted to do the internship but I was so confused with what I was being told. So i declined the internship. I then asked some friends for their opinions. They said that i should keep the dole and that I would have the rest of my life to get another internship. Others said to just go with the internship and stay on the dole since I wasn't getting paid for it.
So I tried to see if I could still have the internship by emailing him again, but it was too late and someone else took my place.
I feel very stupid about blowing away a good opportunity. I feel that I wasted five years of my life by just blowing away a chance because I am on the dole.
On another note, the guy said there is another internship in October and that he will email me in September to see if I'm available. But the thing is that the woman in the dole office said that I would not get the extra 50 thats expected with JobBridge, nor the jobseekers allowance. I feel as if I'm left out there with no opportunity to gain studio experience!!
But even with that I feel so stupid. I can't sleep properly because of it.