Careers fair ‘more like an emigration expo’

Visitors to Blanchardstown’s retail mecca yesterday had a very different type of shopping list in their hands. At the top of it was ‘jobs’.

Joan Burton, the social protection minister, was on hand at the centre’s employment and advice fair where up to 800 jobs were up for grabs with employers from Penneys to Paypal and eBay to Hewlett Packard.

Keywords International, a Leopardstown-based firm that effectively translates computer games for the big manufacturers, was offering jobs to games testers with a pay rate of up to €11 an hour, depending on experience.

The only problem is prospective candidates needed to be a gamer and proficient in languages.

People are being hired, stall manager Amanda Gribbon said — 12 last week, three this, but our famed lack of nous in languages meant many people never got past level one.

Jackie Quinn, a mother-of-three from Swords, was among the huddle of people gathered at the Paypal stand.

“I’m looking for something in customer services,” she said. “I worked in it for years but the company I was with closed down.”

She was let go last month and is eyeing a swift return to the workforce. Unlike many of those nosing around the job vacancies, she said she was not in a position to head overseas.

A Tallaght IT student from Kimmage, who did not wish to be named, felt differently. A former plumber, he is back studying energy and environmental engineering and seeking internships.

“There’s no hope of a job in the plumbing at the minute, there are no jobs out there,” he said. Heading overseas was rated as “50/50” and after looking at the opportunities available yesterday, he will be off to the RDS today for the Working Abroad Expo. A similar event will be held in the Silversprings Moran Hotel in Cork on Mar 7.

Ciaran Fleming from Tallaght, who was inquiring at the Germany stall, said the Blanchardstown event was “more like an emigration expo”.

The people manning the stalls had various stories to tell. Taru Asikainen from the Finnish stall said the Scandinavian country had loads of jobs, but — surprise, surprise — the lack of Finnish-speaking Irish people was an obstacle.

Despite this, she said “only Irish people” had spoken with her at the stall, whereas at the British stall Celia Pappas said all those expressing an interest in jobs there were either non-Irish European or from elsewhere.

All this unfolded amid news that authorities in Canada are looking to hire 15 Irish medics with the promise of salaries of up to €380,000. What is a local jobseeker to do?

Italian Michele Iorio, a 27-year-old from Bologna, arrived here three weeks ago to improve his English. “The primary thing is to stay here,” he said. “If I don’t get a job I can maybe stay just another one and a half months.”


Frits Potgieter is General Manager with Muckross Park Hotel and Spa.You've Been Served: Frits Potgieter, Muckross Park Hotel and Spa

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