In 2012, Oisin McCarthy graduated with a B. Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from DIT with the second highest grade in his class of 71. This result might actually have been a slight disappointment since, the year before, he had scored the highest grade in the class. However, Oisin had a problem. Despite his results, he couldn’t get a job.
Despite numerous applications, months of searching and no interviews – “often no replies” – Oisin decided he needed to do something. That something took him to Australia, to a new life, a fiancée and another decision to make. We caught up with him this week to find out what you do when you’re extremely employable but can’t find a job.
Why did you choose Australia?
“I knew I needed to travel to find work but I didn’t choose Australia straight away. I did my research, looked at Canada, the US, Brazil, China. Australia wasn’t really top of the list, but it seemed like it would be the easiest since they speak the same language, the culture is similar – it made the most sense.”
Did it take long to find work over there?
“I was really lucky, I found work instantly. Within three days I had a job and I was sponsored. It wasn’t a holiday visa, I didn’t do regional work or anything like that. I was there to work.”
So you were starting your career?
“Yeah, the job was in mining in Perth, that’s pretty much all there is in Perth is mining. I was really settled; I had a fiancée, I was looking into mortgages, car loans. But I’m really glad I came back, I think I missed Irish culture, Australia is a lot like Ireland but it’s not the same.”
What made you decide to come back?
“My fiancée, she’s from Perth, wanted to travel – she wanted to come to Europe. So we looked at our options; London, Dublin, Galway. In the end we decided to come back to Dublin.”
What was it like coming home?
“It was much harder coming back than it was going out. It was almost a bit of culture shock, a lot of my friends had moved away or were getting married, having babies. The country hadn’t really changed but my social circle had changed. It took a long time to settle back into a routine.”
Was the work situation any better?
“It was better, I was getting interviews this time, but it wasn’t as quick as it was in Perth! I actually found it quite hard to get work. It took four months, I almost ran out of money.”
Why do you think you found it hard to find work?
“The only experience I had was in mining in Perth and that’s just not something that employers over here are looking for. There isn’t a lot of mining in Europe! So it was a struggle, but I was getting interviews. I spoke to a few recruiters and eventually I got my current job through Cpl. It was tough, but it wasn’t as hard to find a job as it was to find accommodation!”
You had a hard time finding a place to live?
“Yeah we were staying on friends’ couches for the first five weeks, it wasn’t easy. In many ways we came home blind. I’m from Dublin so I didn’t do much research and that was a mistake. I didn’t think to get references from landlords while I was in Australia.”
Is that the advice you would give to people coming home?
“Yeah, do some planning and some research. There’s a lot of things you can start while you’re still in Australia; you can talk to a recruiter, you can start saving and researching where you want to live. I wish I had done that before I left.”
Now that you know all of that, will you continue to travel?
“No I think I’ve done my travelling. I love being back home, I feel like I understand Ireland and Ireland understands me. All you’re really doing when you travel is changing the scenery – you still get up in the morning and go to work. Travel just gives you pretty new places to look at but, you know, Ireland’s pretty too.”