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‘Coming back was challenging’

Engineer Shane Collins gained valuable experience with Arup in Sydney and Singapore before settling back in Ireland

While setting out on a new career in Ireland can be both daunting and rewarding, sometimes the need is for something much further afield. Shane Collins was 26 years old when he decided to travel and work overseas.

“I had graduated in 2007 as a project engineer and worked for a few years in Ireland,” he says. “But then it was the height of the recession and work was getting thin on the ground.” Collins travelled to Australia with his girlfriend, Eleanor, in 2010. “We wanted some adventure but we always had the plan to come back to Ireland,” he says.

Settling in Sydney, Collins was soon offered a job with international engineering and design firm Arup. "They have a great reputation worldwide so I really jumped at the chance. It was perfect."

After four years in Sydney, which included a short trip back to Ireland to get married, the couple decided it was time to travel again. “Sydney was a great place to live. We had family there and a big group of friends too, many of them from Ireland. There were around 35 people in my structural engineering course, and I remember on a night out in Sydney there were 15 of us there.”


Leaving Sydney, Collins transferred his job to the company offices in Singapore, where the couple stayed for two more years before finally relocating back to Ireland. “It took a while to get settled back in. The first big change was getting used to the climate, you get used to living in the warmth and being able to get outdoors a lot,” he says.

“I think it really helped progress my career here as well. With Arup being a global company, I still have my connections in Australasia that I can call on. Many of them have moved on to different roles in the company as well, so it helps with my internal networking.”

The time away was vital for establishing a new life in Cork, where Shane and Eleanor now live with their two-year-old twins, Ben and Katie. “We had a very strong aim when we were away to come back and build our dream house,” says Collins. “Coming back, it was a challenging time, but we were planning for it in advance and that made it easier. And we certainly wouldn’t have been able to build our own house had we stayed here.”