AS THE end of the university year approaches, Fermanagh-born graduates must decide: do we stay or do we go?
Highlighted in a report released in January, by Fermanagh Economic Development Organisation (FEDO), the issue of graduate jobs and their availability was cited for major concern.
And, Martin Maguire, chairman of FEDO, this week described how few graduates being able to find first-time jobs remains a big issue in the county.
“Fermanagh is fortunate to have a variety of strong, export-oriented businesses which can offer employment to graduates in addition to other job-seekers,” he explained.
“However, the prevailing economic conditions remain challenging and, as a result, all too few graduates can find first time employment within the local labour market.”
Martin noted that while graduates who manage to get jobs outside of the county can bring that ‘employment experience’ back to the county, there are still concerns.
Iain McGonigle, an Enniskillen-born 23-year-old, who graduated in 2011, spent a year in Australia, before returning to the county where he has been left unable to find work that suits his degree, computer forensics.
“For me, finding work wasn’t really in the mindset when I started my course – it was more getting university done to move on to something else. Job thoughts didn’t arrive until final year,” he explained.
“Most of my friends who have graduated and came back to Fermanagh are finding some jobs in areas unrelated to their main degree.”
Iain said that he has managed to find ‘casual work’, however, getting a job has been ‘very difficult’.
“I don’t believe it is possible for me to have a career develop and stay in Fermanagh. I’ve managed to get casual work through an agency, but minimum wage can only do for so long.
“If you are willing to move anywhere there’s always something available, but it would be nice for the more rural counties to get more jobs for graduates,” he added.
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