Martin Cormack was an early victim of the recession, when the construction industry crash cost him his job in an architect’s office.
Now, the 27-year-old from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, is back at college, building on his skills.
Graduating from Waterford IT some years back with a degree in architectural technology, Martin walked out of college straight into a building boom.
He worked in an architect’s office in Gorey before moving to Portlaoise where he was one of six employed in a practice now reduced to one.
A decline in business became obvious in 2007 and Martin’s working week was cut to three days before losing his job in early 2009.
Initially, he kept busy with some casual work, but, as that too dried up, he decided to go back to Waterford IT.
Last September, Martin started a three-year BSC in Horticulture which is run in conjunction with Teagasc at Kildalton College, Co. Kilkenny to complement his architectural expertise because of a natural overlap between the two skills.
According to Martin “when I was working they were always outsourcing the landscape design job. After this I will be qualified to do it”. Martin is one of a growing number of mature students in third-level education.
Last year one in seven new entrants to college were over 23 and his own class includes students who previously worked as a farmer, welder, builder and taxi driver.