A DUHALLOW man is hoping to dent the dole queue by hiring new employees to start a new life in Australia.
Charlie Drake (pictured) from Derrinagree left Ireland a decade ago and is now the owner of three companies. As Australia is currently experiencing an economic boom, he wants to have 50 people on his books by the end of January — preferrably from Duhallow.
"I want to give anyone who is willing to work a job, and I do like to look after the local people [of Duhallow] as I know exactly what it is like to land in a country and not know anyone," Mr Drake told The Corkman this week.
His civil engineering company, 'Claddagh Civil,' now employs over 20 people, almost all from Duhallow. Mr Drake has also formed two more companies - 'Cladtrans' — a haulage company, overseen by Charlie's brother, Paul — and ' South Coast Traffic Solutions', which oversees the mammoth traffic flow on Australian roads.
Speaking from his home in Naarrawallee in New South Wales, Charlie said that both companies are approved by the Department of Immigration and they can sponsor people to go to Australia and secure a visa. "I am very much willing to make the time and effort to meet people who want to work," said Mr Drake. A DROMTARRIFFE native who went to Australia a decade ago is now the owner of three companies and is looking for Duhallow men to work for him.
Charlie Drake will have 50 people on his books by the end of this month — most of them from Duhallow.
"I want to give anyone who is willing to work a job and I do like to look after the local people [of Duhallow], as I know exactly what it is like to land in a country and not know anyone," Charlie told The Corkman this week.
His civil engineering company, 'Claddagh Civil', employs 20 people full time and there are more who are on a subcontracting basis. Almost all of the staff are from the Dromtarriffe, Millstreet and Munster region.
In February 2011, he formed 'Cladtrans', a haulage company, and despite starting off with a second hand Volvo truck he now has four brand new trucks on the road. Cladtrans is overseen by Charlie's brother, Paul, in the role of transport manager. In addition to the four new trucks, they also hire 10 more on subcontract.
Then in July last year, Charlie set up ' South Coast Traffic Solutions', which oversees the mammoth traffic flow on Australian roads. So far it has secured contracts for 700km of Australian roadways.
A decade ago, Charlie, who is now 33, was working in Molex in Millstreet and served five years as a tool maker. When he was 23 he took redundancy and decided to pack his bag and go to Australia.
"I didn't know one person when I landed in Australia," Charlie recalled. "I'll never forget — it I arrived on a Thursday evening for what I thought was six weeks to travel but by Monday morning I got a job with a Kerryman, Mick Daly, and stayed with him for five years laying pipes and driving trucks and working as a foreman on his projects."
Then in 2005 he decided to go out on his own and set up Claddagh Civil.
"I bought an excavator and couldn't even drive it," he said, laughing, "and when I got my first job out on my own I ended up having to dig the ground myself with a shovel. There was sweat running off me at the end of it.
"By the next few days I learned fast how to work that excavator. I laugh when I look back on that.
"And there is something that I really like about the Irish lads who come out to Australia and are willing to try their hand at anything."
Speaking from his home in Narrawallee in New South Wales this week, Charlie reckons "going from a tool maker to an excavator was certainly one of life's mysteries".
He said it is great to have his brother Paul, who has 30 years experience in the transport industry, working beside him. Charlie got married to Narelle last November of last year and the couple have three children, Chloe, Lachain and Darragh.
Narrawallee is a six hour, round, drive to Sydney which Charlie is currently doing four days a week. "The driving is tough but I now make very good use of technology and use skype, conference calling, and there are tracker devices on the trucks". Narrawallee is "just like home" as it is in the countryside but right next to the beach. It is a small village where there are fields, cattle and a good community and a great educational system for his children.
Both Claddagh Civil and Cladtrans are approved by the Dept of Immigration and they can sponsor people to go to Australia and secure a visa. So far they have three sponsored families from Ireland, where the husbands and partners had all lost their jobs in Ireland.
"I've heard of pretty tough stories from home where jobs are lost and the houses are next to go, I think it is desperate sad for all those people," Charlie said.
"I am very much willing to make the time and effort to meet people who want to work and who are, above all else, genuine and willing to work.
"If people want to just drink and party then I just don't want them working for me. So far, I'm very lucky with all the lads from Millstreet, Derrinagree and all over the place."
A civil engineer from Cullen, Conor Moynihan, was set to arrive in Australia on Sunday and work for him. Right now, he said there is plenty of work in Australia and he is hoping to hire truck drivers, labourers and anyone who has a good solid background in all forms of civil engineering work.
"Of course I miss my family, but technology is very advanced now — we all go on skype and there's web cams so I get to see everybody back home, that is great," he said.
Charlie is also an avid rally man and won the Australian Rally Championship Premier League title in November — just days before he married Narelle.
This week Charlie Drake Snr told The Corkman that he is very proud of how well Charlie and Paul are doing in Australia. He along with family and friends went to Australia in November for Charlie's wedding. "He's doing well and it is not bad for a fellow who bought a three tonne excavator and couldn't drive it," smiled Charlie Snr.
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