Recent emigrant: ‘Most of my classmates have gone to the UK’
Recently graduated occupational therapist Naomi Algeo moved to London in January
Naomi Algeo, who lives in London, says she was “disheartened” by a recent JobBridge advertisement offering just €50 on top of the dole for a qualified clinical psychologist.
Two days after her grandmother’s funeral last January, Naomi Algeo (24) emigrated to London to take up her first permanent job as an occupational therapist at University College Hospital. More than half her class from NUI Galway have moved abroad to find work since they graduated in June last year.
“A huge talent pool of newly qualified doctors, therapists and nurses are still emigrating,” she says. “Most of my classmates have gone to the UK, and others as far as Singapore and the US. It’s a brain drain that’s fuelled by attractive offers of fewer hours, a clear pathway for job progression and training opportunities for new graduates.”
Algeo applied for a few jobs in Ireland after finishing college, but was told she would need more experience, so she began to look farther afield.
“There are few jobs, it’s competitive and, naturally, those with experience will be preferential candidates. It can be frustrating at times.” New graduates like her are eager to gain experience, she says, but are often expected to do so with little or no pay.
“Recently reading about a JobBridge post for a clinical psychologist in Waterford to be paid an extra €50 on top of social welfare, I was pretty disheartened.”
She says she would have wanted to stay in Ireland if a job were available, but she is glad now that she left.
“I’m working as a junior occupational therapist in elderly medicine. I assess the patient, treat them, and plan their discharge with the multidisciplinary team. My post is rotational, allowing me to ‘rotate’ into a different medical area every six months to broaden my experience. I move on to oncology in October and have the opportunity to apply in the future for rotation into the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, which would be an invaluable experience.”
Algeo keeps an eye on job vacancies in Ireland and would like to move back eventually, but thinks she’ll stay in London for a few years where her career can continue to grow.
“I’ve noticed a slow resurgence of email notifications of vacancies popping up, which is definitely positive, but they are mainly fixed-term or part-time opportunities,” she says. “For me to come back, I need that security of a full-time permanent job.”