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Employee Spotlight: Cormac Gallagher

Interviews 17 August 2022

Cormac Gallagher was just awarded one of our ‘Star of the Quarter’ accolades in our Reward and Recognition awards. This honour spotlights our colleagues who have gone above and beyond in recent months.

Working as an Employment Advisor in our Galway office, Cormac had the opportunity to work on a project funded by the European Social Fund (ESF). Our Welcome to Work programme assists migrants who have been through the International Protection System to access the Galway labour market. We want to know how he arrived at Seetec and what has made him thrive in this role.

Career History

“Before I came to Seetec, I started at the bottom rung when I moved to Galway from Donegal in 2006. Working as a club promoter and a cleaner before I got a job in The Kings Head (a well-known Galway hotspot) as a barman,” Cormac says.

“Then I moved to their restaurant, getting to know how it operated behind the scenes. All in all, I was there for eight years working my way up to senior staff, stock manager and then supervisor. It was tough but I loved it, great management, great team and great training.”

After a stint in Aberdeen working at a gas and electric company and supporting his partner in completing her PhD, Cormac returned to Galway.

“I wasn’t sure what to do because I enjoyed hospitality. I loved the team, the customers, the buzz and working with people. But the hours in hospitality – the weekends, the bank holidays and late nights, it wasn’t what I wanted anymore. When I saw the Seetec Employment Advisor role, it looked like something that would allow me to keep working with people.”

Cormac started at Seetec in the role of Employment Advisor nearly three and a half years ago. He didn’t get the role the first time he applied but the Galway Business Manager who interviewed him saw potential and asked him to reapply the next time an advisor role opened up.

“I didn’t necessarily have qualifications on paper that made me look suitable for the role, but I feel like I am very suited to this type of work. I love dealing with people, supporting people, and trying to help them reach their goals whether it’s through the Welcome to Work programme or our general employability service,” Cormac says.

“Coming up through hospitality helped. Also, having a good, big family, who always encouraged me to have a good work ethic and to never be afraid of giving things a try.”

Cormac’s interactions with his clients are his key strength. He builds great relationships with them and finds common ground with everybody.

“I never had a problem connecting with clients or helping them achieve their employment goals, it’s enjoyable work,” Cormac says.

Working On Our Welcome to Work Programme

“But the Welcome to Work role has been very exciting. I’m meeting people from so many different places and learning so many things about different cultures. And it’s humbling to work with people who have come through massive struggles already just to get here.

“Learning their stories, seeing their courage and their ambition to change their lives is inspiring and it’s joyful work to be honest.”

When asked if there were any challenging aspects to his role Cormac outlined the need for sensitivity and openness to learning that was necessary for supporting people from different cultures.

“You do have to be aware of people’s different cultural needs and have a certain grasp on geopolitics. I’m always researching different countries and trying to educate myself a bit better,” he says.

Cormac believes the skills he has developed with Seetec are well represented throughout our organisation.

“I’ve learned that everyone’s got a different story, everyone is affected by things in different ways and not to judge a book by its cover. To be more patient, to be a better listener and less judgemental. You never know someone else’s hardships,” he says.

“I think every one of our Employment Advisors approaches their work with a positive attitude. It’s been great celebrating the Welcome to Work programme, but it wouldn’t have been such a success without all the support of the Galway team. They do great work here and I’ve learned a lot from them and our manager Barry Carberry.”