Jobs expo draws crowds of 4,500

Nearly 4,500 people attended a jobs expo in Cork yesterday which clearly defined that some Irish companies still have vacancies — although they’re mainly in the hi-tech sector.

People who didn’t fit into that category were instead drawn to exhibitors offering a wide range of jobs in Canada and Australia, where in many cases they’ll have to get their hands dirty.

Westbourne Solutions managing director John O’Sullivan was trying to fill four vacancies in his IT support services company, which is increasingly picking up business with giant pharmachem companies.

At the expo in the Silver Springs Moran Hotel, he spoke “to some interesting candidates”.

The sort of jobs he and exhibitors VM Ware — who are competitors — were offering could suit Frank O’Callaghan, 27, from Douglas, Cork, who has a Masters from UCC in e-business.

“I hope to pick up something here rather than emigrate,” he said. His friend, Liam Quirke, 24, who is completing a similar course at UCC, said: “The IT sector is in good shape here. But a lot of companies are looking for experience, but I haven’t got it yet.”

Harry Cashman, 22, from Conna, Co Cork has already experienced the emigration trail, having worked with machinery in Australia for two years.

“I’m happy to be back here,” Harry said. “I missed my family and friends and I want to work here. The jobs on offer here are more IT. There’s no apprenticeships. There’s nothing for me here today and I may have to leave again if I don’t get something suitable.”

Gerard McNab of RJ Hoffman Holdings Ltd was finding no shortage of interest from young Irish people wanting to sign up as truck drivers and heavy-duty mechanics for his company in Alberta, Canada.

“We had 25 people who wanted to drive trucks and we’ll definitely employ a number of them and definitely two mechanics,” he said. “We already have some Irish working with us and we’d like more. They’re honest, hardworking and not whingers.”

Mairead O’Sullivan, 24, from Clonakilty, Co Cork has a two-year work visa secured for Canada and has her CV on a database in Vancouver. She didn’t find anything suitable yesterday, but will keep on trying.

Jason Kelly from Ballina, Co Mayo, also attended the jobs expo. “I’m a plumber by trade, but out of work at present,” he said. “I’m finishing a pipewelding course with FÁS and hoping to get work in Canada or Australia. I know dozens of people of my age who have emigrated, mostly to Australia.”

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