Why the initial interest in plumbing?
The interest came from working with my Dad on the odd weekend and summer holidays.
Where did you do your apprenticeship in Ireland?
I didn’t actually do an apprenticeship in Ireland. I got a soccer scholarship to study in America but due to a bad injury I lost my scholarship and had to return home. On the apprenticeship end of things I had three years of work experience with my Dad’s company in all aspects of plumbing before I left for Sydney. The additional two years of work experience here entitled me to apply for a journeyman certificate, so I applied for skills recognition, was assessed and then received my qualification at the end.
Did any of your friends take up an apprenticeship after leaving school? Were there many available?
At the time, there weren’t many available due to the downturn of work in Ireland.
Was it a big decision to move to Australia?
It was a huge decision for myself and my girlfriend Kathy to leave Ireland and move to the other side of the world. Kathy is a nurse and I had heard from friends that there was plenty of work in construction over there so we decided to go for it. Kathy’s sister lives here and is a citizen. This meant that we had a place to stay which helped us get on our feet.
What’s the process involved in such a big move? Were you confident that you’d secure work?
I had previously spoken to friends who were here and they had told me there was plenty of work, so I knew that finding a job shouldn’t be an issue. We came here on working holiday visas and we had to go and work on a cattle station for three months as part of the conditions of our visa to obtain the second year. The visa we are currently on is a four-year sponsorship visa. I was pretty lucky to find such a good job straight away. I got the job within three days of arriving in Sydney
How does the lifestyle differ to Ireland?
The best thing about working in construction in Sydney is the hours. I start at 6.30am and finish at 2.30pm. I’m home by 3pm with the whole day ahead of me.
How long have you been living in Australia? Any plans to return home?
I’ve been here for three years now and have no plans to move home anytime soon but you never know what’s around the corner. I do love it here but the cost of living is outrageous, so settling here would be hard to do. Ideally I will work here for a few more years, save money and move home and put a deposit on a house.
Do you feel frustrated that you were forced to leave your own country to find work?
Ideally, I would have completed my qualification in Ireland before I left, but I always had plans to travel. If Ireland had the weather and the wages were as good, I would be back in a heartbeat!