Emigration made easier

Kevin Hughes

WITH his website attracting over 25,000 hits a month, Beaufort man Ruairi Spillane has certainly found a gap in the market and it's all thanks to his own experiences as a recent emigrant.

Ruairi moved to Vancouver five years ago and was featured in The Kerryman last year after leaving a stable job and setting up his own website to provide assistance to others hoping to make a similar move across The Pond.

The website was initially named moving2vancouver.com but has expanded into moving2canada.com. The site's focus has also developed - originally a tourism information site with tips on the big move, that service has been added too and now the main focus is recruitment.

Ruairi was back in Beaufort last week following the Working Abroad Expo in Dublin and says it was a very worthwhile experience.

"The Expo was a big success from our point of view because we had more focus this time compared to last year. We had a lot of interest in the recruitment side and it's our focus on construction and engineering that seems to be attracting people," he states.

"The quality of candidate is also better too - you see the demographic of the Expo changing as it's either really young graduates or people aged 35 and up," he adds.

He says that Canadian employers continue to seek Ireland's skilled workers, particularly in industry.

"Construction professionals and engineers is where the real market is," he reveals.

"Irish engineers are well rounded with good technical skills and a very strong personality and their ability to adapt is superb, so that's where the real opportunity is out there," he states.

"There's also interest in tradespeople - carpenters, pipe fitters, electricians, crane operators, fitters, machinery operators - with industrial and commercial experience. Unfortunately, we get a lot of tradespeople with only residential experience and it's harder to help them find work," he adds.

With contacts across Canada, Ruairi says most are based in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. So exactly where are those new recruits going?

"Definitely with young families, Edmonton and Calgary are the most popular because people are getting a little bit more realistic and these cities have higher wages as you are in Alberta where there's lower living costs too. Vancouver and Toronto are the lifestyle cities, you can always get by, but economically the better option is Edmonton or Calgary," he reveals.

He adds that most Kerry emigrants are making their way either to the mountain peaks of Calgary or the industrial base of Edmonton.

"There's not a lot of Kerry people in Vancouver but quite a few in Alberta, almost all engineers."

As for Ruairi's working week, well it varies a lot but is generally between 50 and 60 hours.

"I suppose you're always working as I get a lot of general queries and it's trying to train people to explore the website," he states.

And it seems those hours won't come down anytime soon as, amazingly, he says that Canada's labour shortage continues to grow.

"There's a massive labour shortage and that's where we come in. Companies need employees and it's going to get worse. In 2015 they reckon it will peak, it's because the population is aging in Canada. Also, it's a vast country with a huge distance between Vancouver and Toronto and in between they'll continue to struggle to get people.

"A lot is down to gas and mining in areas such as Fort McMurray and they need a lot of human capital to come in if they wish to develop. Due to the expansion of operations, there is also a need to service those people with infrastructure, roads, schools - and it's in those areas that we're finding the jobs," he explains.

As for the future, Ruairi certainly has his sights firmly fixed.

"The focus is to provide a website that's useful and then long term it's to build a long term business out of recruitment. Out of that will hopefully come a stable income and I can become more mobile, that's the dream," he adds.