THEY came armed with multiple copies of their CV, suited and booted and prepped for interview – and their enthusiasm appeared to pay off.
Hundreds of jobseekers, including long-term unemployed, turned up for an innovative jobs fair that aimed to match potential employees with appropriate skills to posts in the hospitality industry.
Organised by the Department of Social welfare in collaboration with the Irish Hotel Federation and the Restaurant Association of Ireland, it is a pilot project. A similar initiative already runs in the North.
Similar events may be organised in the future for other sectors such as the "green" or IT industries, said Tom Lehane of the Department of Social Protection.
He said the fair, at the Aisling Hotel in Dublin, came about as a result of the integration of Fas and his department, saying: "We've learned from our mistakes in the past".
Evelyn Lane of the Canal Local Employment Service Network, Obair, said they had taken 25 people and prepared them for interview. "They were fairly nervous when they came to us but by the time the week was up, confidence had lifted," she said.
One determined man arrived saying he would not be leaving until he found a job. His determination was rewarded with a formal job interview today.
Unemployed manager Reggie Tucker (45), from Glasnevin in Dublin, worked in the hotel and restaurant trade in Philadelphia, US, for over 27 years. He has been looking for work since he returned to Ireland last year.
He has applied for "about 300 jobs" since his return.
Meanwhile, Michelle Rosney (23) from Killarney, Co Kerry, recently graduated from the Shannon College of Hotel Management. It was the Irish Hotels Federation that suggested she attend the jobs fair.
Looking for a job as a cleaner, Pauleen Gaskin (50) from Gardiner Street in Dublin has been unemployed since July and is finding it "impossible" to manage on social welfare. Her son turns 21 tomorrow and she has "nothing to give him," she said.