Exodus of Our Young

Article excerpt

Byline: Leah McDonald

LAURA CROSS finished a biochemistry degree in May... but the only work she found since then was as a shop assistant.

So the 22-year-old is moving to Canada on Monday, joining tens of thousands of other talented young people giving up on Ireland.

And there was nothing but bleak news yesterday from the country she is leaving. The Central Statistics Office reported that 27,700 Irish citizens emigrated in the year to April 2010 - more than 500 a week.

In total, 65,300 people emigrated in the 12 months to April, the vast majority of them young. Net migration stood at 34,500 - the highest in 20 years. And there was further grim news on employment yesterday, with the CSO reporting that the number who still have jobs has fallen by 80,000 in the past year.

Of the 65,000 emigrants, almost 30,000 were aged 25-44, and 28,000 were aged 15-24.

Laura, from Kimmage in Dublin, finished a degree in biochemistry at Tallaght Institute of Technology in May but has been unable to find any work in that field.

The only job she could find was as a shop assistant. at Arnotts, working just one day a week.

On Monday, she flies to Vancouver to start a new life. Her boyfriend, who expects to be made redundant by the end of the year, will follow her to Canada after Christmas.

Laura said: 'When my sister graduated five years ago, she went straight into a good job and didn't give a thought to leaving. But for those of us trying to work nowadays, the only option is to work in a shop, collect dole or get on the plane.

'It's so hard to even get a part-time job out there, and when I was signing on it was eight weeks before I received any payment, and it's frustrating because I've been looking for jobs in biochemistry, but there seems to be nothing in Ireland.'

Laura hopes to find work in a laboratory developing pharmaceuticals and would eventually like to gain a higher degree, as she hopes to specialise in cell-culturing and immunology.

She said: 'There are so few opportunities here for someone like me who is looking to get their foot on the career ladder.

'I'm really keen to get the right experience.

Canada can offer lots of research opportunities where I'II gain valuable experience.

'With the cost of living being so high here in Ireland, my fear is that even if I did get a first job, I just wouldn't be able to afford to pay rent, move out of home and have a decent standard of living.

'At this stage I'm dying to go.' Laura chose Canada as she has friends who all found work there after leaving Ireland earlier this year.

'I'm looking forward to being in a country where the mood is better. I've just found that especially with my friends, that when we go out to enjoy ourselves there is a heavy mood- like there is a cloud over us - I can only put it down to the fact that everyone is watching the pennies and that there is little to look forward to here for my generation. …