That’s one for every seat in the rejuvenated Lansdowne Road but unfortunately also the same number who are expected to leave the country this year in search of work.
Among the 84 exhibitors, it was those catering for jobseekers wishing to leave that were doing the briskest business. On the USIT working-abroad stand Helena Murphy was dealing with a queue of inquires.
“We’re mainly offering work abroad programmes from working holiday visas to US professional career training. In the last six months people are going more out of economic necessity than a wish to travel. I’ve lost a lot of friends to Australia.”
Yesterday, was the opening day of the four-day exhibition billed “as the year’s biggest careers, student and work/study event of its kind in Ireland”.
The morning saw thousands of noisy school children filling the venue — many of the young men’s attention mainly focused on the view of the pristine pitch where Manchester Untied recently played, the girls fascinated by private colleges offering courses in make-up artistry.
The afternoon saw fewer, but in the main more discerning, visitors making their way around the stalls.
Among them were trainee teachers Tara O’Driscoll, from Cork, and Michelle Walsh, from Waterford.
“We’re in college at the moment doing a HDip in education so the aim of coming here is to try and find work abroad because there provably won’t be work for us here next year,” said Tara.
The girls were seeking jobs anywhere from Australia and Canada to Dubai.
The possible need to leave in search of work provoked mixed emotions. “It’s 50/50. I won’t mind going for a few years and coming back but if I do have to go long term that would be against my wishes,” said Michelle.
Most stands were held by private third level colleges offering courses across the range from accountancy, law to beauty treatment and club DJing.
Concrete jobs offers were thin on the ground, apart from one employer offering numerous positions including managerial roles with the possibility of foreign travel. Lidl’s human resources manager Theresa Paul said: “We’ve had loads of interest because people are desperate to work and we actually offer jobs. We have vacancies of all kinds.”
Exiting the €410 million stadium, down a grandiose concrete stairwell it was hard not to ponder what can be done to halt a country’s economic death spiral provoked by the loss of its most valuable natural resource — talented young people.
* Over 63% of recent graduates and industry professionals are considering emigrating to find employment, according to research by Innovo Training & Development and Tallaght IT.
The online survey, which examined attitudes towards the employment market, found that Canada (30.3%), Australia (28.6%) and New Zealand (13.4%) are the most attractive locations for people to seek employment.
Innovo training and development director Declan Byrne said; “Unfortunately we have a heritage of emigration in this country, which is ever more evident in times of recession.”
He added; “We are losing the graduate and industry talent that we have spent millions educating and the only way forward is to create new enterprises that employ people and generate economic activity. The people, talent and ideas are here. We just need to foster, harness and support them.”