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Construction’s Swift Victory: Campaign to Bring Home Irish Workers Abroad

By February 13, 2024 No Comments

The Chief Executive Officer of a construction enterprise has articulated the initiative to entice Irish expat construction workers back home as an expeditious solution. Simon Harris, Minister for Higher Education, is poised to inaugurate a campaign aimed at bolstering the workforce within the sector, with an allocation of €750,000 earmarked for this project.

A facet of this tactical approach will involve a thorough evaluation of potential measures the State might employ to render the proposition of repatriation for employment purposes more appealing to Irish construction workers currently stationed overseas. John O’Shaughnessy, the CEO of Clancy Construction, has acknowledged the merit in extending overtures to this diaspora, highlighting the immediate benefits such a strategy could yield for the construction industry at large.

Mr. O’Shaughnessy stated, “The State’s project, aimed at repatriating our global construction community, represents an astute strategy, promising immediate dividends for the sector.” He contrasted the immediacy of reintegrating seasoned professionals with the protracted timeline necessitated by the academic and vocational grooming of aspiring entrants, the latter of which unfolds over a four-year trajectory.

Mr. O’Shaughnessy has engaged with numerous industry counterparts who have chosen to pursue opportunities abroad, attributing such decisions more to the experiences than to any deficiency in local opportunities. He posited that for many, the international sojourn is envisioned as a temporary departure, with an inherent intention to return.

Conversations with Irish construction professionals domiciled in locations as distant as Australia have reaffirmed this sentiment, with many expressing a keen anticipation for their eventual return, notwithstanding the allure of foreign climes and working cultures. The Department of Further and Higher Education’s analysis forecasts a demand for an additional 50,000 workers within the construction sector over the ensuing decade, a projection that underscores the pressing nature of the current labour shortfall.

Mr. O’Shaughnessy stated that the palpable impact of this scarcity on project completion rates and overall industry capacity, needs an urgent appeal for additional workforce. Similarly, Dermot Carey, the Construction Industry Federation’s Director of Safety, Training, and Skills, echoed these concerns, citing recruitment challenges as a predominant theme among member feedback.

Mr. Carey underscored the imperative of demonstrating a sustainable and prosperous career trajectory within the construction sector to those abroad, alongside efforts to recalibrate perceptions of the industry among the younger generation.This endeavor seeks to transcend traditional misconceptions, spotlighting the sector’s technological and intellectual opportunities alongside its manual facets.

In sum, the discourse from both industry leaders accentuates the strategic necessity of re-engaging the Irish construction diaspora and rebranding the sector to appeal to the next generation of professionals, thereby addressing the immediate and future workforce requirements.

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