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‘Rent takes up two-thirds of my salary. I will most likely go to Australia’ – The Irish Times

 'Rent takes up two-thirds of my salary.  I will most likely go to Australia' – The Irish Times

Crippling rents, skyrocketing house prices and the promise of sun, sea and sand on the other side of the world were just some of the reasons why long lines of Irish teachers lined up at Jobs Expo Ireland on Saturday to explore the possibility of going to Ireland. to move. Australia.

Organized by Careers Unlimited, the expo returned to Croke Park, where more than 40 of Ireland’s and abroad’s leading employers competed to capture the attention of 10,000 job seekers.

There was a steady stream of people to the Catholic Education Ballarat booth, based in Australia, throughout the afternoon. About 80 percent of them were women. The group offered perks like free flights and lodging to attract teachers.

Niamh McEvoy (27) from Co Laois is a primary school teacher who works in Kildare. “Australia really appeals to me,” she said.

“I have a lot of friends out there right now. Their work-life balance – and the sun is just calling to me. My friends go for a race day, surf or go on an adventure to the other side of Australia. It looks fantastic.

“I am very on the fence. My friends and family are here. That’s what’s actually holding me back. I live at home again. Rent is crazy. House prices are crazy. There’s no end in sight.

“[The organisers] were just explaining all the benefits. Flights paid. Six weeks off at Christmas. The money is so much better too. I spent five years in college and a master’s degree, and it’s just not recognized here.

Andrea Golding (27), a primary school teacher, and Megan Beatty (25), who works in an office, both live in Tallaght but are considering moving to Australia in September.

Both say they still live at home and “cannot even rent here” because of the costs. Recognizing that a move to Australia is tempting, they point out that the recruiters promise everything from stocking their fridge upon arrival to setting up Wi-Fi.

“There’s also a big difference with the resources,” says Golding. “Their schools are like our colleges. Plus, in Australia you get paid for the time you spend planning your lessons.”

Miriam Fox (28) from Dublin is a secondary school teacher four years ago. “I’ve had four different jobs in that time in four different counties with no housing assistance,” she said.

“I have no hope of a job next year. I don’t see an option within Ireland at the moment. I’ve looked at moving across Europe, the United States, and now I’m looking at Australia.

“I am mostly an English teacher. I can also teach Chinese and politics. I am very highly trained in first aid. I just can’t find a job here. The rent here takes up about two thirds of my salary and I have a better paid position than many of my colleagues. I am currently back home with my parents in my old bedroom because I can’t afford to live on my own.

“They offer a supplement of €5,000 per year and possibly free accommodation depending on the school I choose. I will most likely go.

Aoife O’Mahony (26) from Cork and her friend Ciara Walsh (26) from Sligo are both home economics teachers who say ‘everyone goes to Australia’.

“We’ll go in September and try it out for a year or two,” they said.

“There is a better work-life balance. Dublin is great and we love Dublin but I don’t think we can afford to live here forever. They also offer bonuses depending on where you go.”

Eoin Finlay (22) is a recently graduated teacher. “I’m considering my options,” he said. “It would be difficult to leave home, but if there are opportunities to work abroad, I would jump on it.

“The driving force is the quality of life there. Integrating seems easy enough for Irish people in Australia. The cost of living is the overarching challenge here.”

Tom Sexton, executive director of Catholic Education Ballarat, insisted the group was not “raiding” Irish teachers.

“We know there is a teacher shortage here in Ireland too,” he said. “We don’t see this – and we don’t want this to be seen – as an attack on Irish teachers. There is a serious shortage in Australia, especially where we are.

“We have a lack of graduates coming out of college and we have a bit of an exodus of people at the top of their careers who decided to retire early when Covid came. It’s kind of a perfect storm and we think it’s going to take four or five years to correct, so we’re here.

“One of the reasons we are here is that Irish teachers are very well trained and we are very keen to have high quality teachers.

“We were here in October and we had so many questions. Today is the same. As you can see, it is packed here.”

He said salaries start at around $49,000 and go up to $72,000. In addition, there are “leadership allowances” that range from €2,000 to €8,000 per year.

They also offer €3,000 to help with travel expenses, which will be doubled if people are willing to work in more remote areas. “The other thing we also guarantee is accommodation,” he said. “We won’t enroll anyone unless we can provide that.”

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