OVER 12,000 PEOPLE flocked to the RDS in Dublin at the weekend for a jobs and emigration fair.
The unprecedented crowds at the Working Abroad Expo yesterday afternoon forced organisers to shut the doors to those who had not pre-registered.
Jobseekers trawled through more than 80 exhibit stands in search of ‘dream jobs’ in Canada, Australia and other countries suffering from skills shortages.
Advice on visas and other aspects of emigration was also available to those attending.
Exhibition director Stephen McLarnon told Newstalk Breakfast today that he was “completely taken aback” by the number of people who turned up for the event.
“The venue was four times bigger with three times the number of exhibitors than last year’s,” he said.
Exhibitors commented on the quality of applicants and the preparation they had put in before coming.
The Working Abroad Expo has been running for the past decade but McLarnon says the demographic of those attending has changed over the ten years.
When it started, venues would be full with students, he said. In later years a lot of secondary migrants – people from outside of Ireland who moved here but then wanted to live elsewhere – made up the bulk of attendees.
However, the majority of people at the weekend expo were Irish skilled and educated workers. Many actually had jobs but were seeking out better opportunities and prospects outside of Ireland.
About 2,000 interviews were held at the Ballsbridge venue on Saturday and Sunday with about 250 job subsequently offered.
IP Australia – a government agency similar to the Patents Office in Ireland – provisionally offered 10 jobs to mechanical engineers.
Another expo will be held in the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork on Wednesday from noon to 7pm.
Just some of the jobs on offer include physicians positions in Canada which come with a promise of $500,000 earnings and $55,000 in assistance to “get settled”, as well as a house and a car.
The attractive packages come as other countries suffer skills shortages and Ireland’s unemployment remains at stubbornly high levels. Migration experts VisaFirst.com has said that the competition between Canada and Australia for Irish farmers and other skilled workers is now in “full swing”.