Jobseekers hoping €10 ticket will lead to a secure future
LIKE many of the would-be emigrants visiting the recruitment kiosks at the Working Abroad Expo this weekend, Aideen Mulholland has a job here, but it is not enough to keep her in Ireland indefinitely.
The 35-year-old registered nurse from Dundalk, Co Louth, was among the thousands of jobseekers and aspiring emigrants visiting the jobs fair featuring 40 recruiters from Canada, Australia and the Middle East looking to hire skilled engineers, mechanics, accountants and healthcare and financial service specialists.
While many who paid €10 to attend the first day of the three-day fair at the RDS yesterday do not have jobs, a surprising number do and were reluctant to speak to the media for fear of being "outed" to their current boss.
But tired of working long hours in under-staffed conditions with the constant threat of redundancy, they are looking abroad for a more secure future.
Ms Mulholland works as a hospital nurse and is happy to stay put for now, but she is aware that "there are a lot of opportunities out there" and is looking to emigrate before too long.
"To get further in the Irish system currently is very hard," she said.
"The general feeling even among our student nurses is that they're being trained to export. We have such a high education standard and it's appreciated the world over.
"I'm not saying it's not appreciated in Ireland, but there are no jobs here and we just need to look somewhere else. The world's your oyster."
Fellow nurse Deirdre Hegarty left Ireland during the last recession in the 1980s to work in California, and has never looked back.
Now chief nursing officer at the 450-bed Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi, Ms Hegarty, from Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, is back home as a headhunter looking to recruit the entire staff for a new 750-bed hospital.
"We're looking for professionals from all aspects of healthcare," she said.
Young workers who are barely out of college or on the first rung of the career ladder were among those looking to Canada or Australia.
Carla Dempsey (20), from Tallaght, Dublin, has a job as a beauty therapist at a spa, while her boyfriend, Neil Doyle (21), from Coolock, Dublin, works in a department store.
However, they say they do not see a future here and are considering a move to Canada.
"I'm trying to get out of here and better myself," said Ms Dempsey, who plans to train as an electrician or carpenter.
"We want to get away for the experience and get better skills and get a start on a trade over there, then we can come back and finish our trade here," said Mr Dempsey, who hopes to join some friends in Calgary.
The fair runs today and tomorrow from 10am until 4pm.