John Scannell has been an Employment Advisor with Seetec since 2015 and was part of the team that opened our Galway office. He works with clients in Connemara, one of the most beautiful and remote parts of our country. However, this rural Gaeltacht area faces its own specific set of challenges.
As a fluent speaker, John is uniquely placed to deliver employment support to an area that has Irish speaking communities. John talks us through some of the barriers to employment faced by locals and tells us a bit about his career journey with Seetec and why he loves his role:
“My background was originally in sales and marketing, I sold packaging solutions to lots of the medical device companies in the Galway region. However, my role with Seetec has a different motivation behind it. This job is about supporting people. I enjoy giving practical steps and encouragement to clients to support them in their pursuit of employment.
“Having changed career direction myself, it gives me a different perspective in helping clients to reach their goals and achieve self-fulfilment. I truly believe that the formula for success is in making small consistent changes.”
John works with a diverse client base who have varied barriers to employment. He delivers our outreach service in Connemara which switched to remote delivery by phone and online for clients during the pandemic.
“Much of the work available in the area is seasonal. The closest city to Connemara is Galway and there is very poor transport infrastructure. This lack of transport poses difficulties in access for people. To facilitate clients, our outreach programme enables us to go and meet clients in their local area, which increases their access to the service by us going the extra mile.
“Many people in the area really want to work but are struggling to find jobs. The motivation is there, but there are unfortunately many barriers to employment in the area because it is isolated. Many younger people may decide to leave the area as a result.
“In some ways, the pandemic showed the whole world there are more opportunities to work and study remotely but digital connectivity still has a way to go in Connemara. It will be a huge boon to the area when the internet and phone service is improved here.”
Despite the challenges facing the region, John is optimistic about its future. The positive feedback he receives is heartening. He believes the trust his clients put in him is partly because he speaks their language and meets them in their communities.
“The people of Connemara are resilient, and we support them understand their way forward. That might include getting people into training, improving their skills and exploring new employment opportunities. We have had some great successes. That’s what keeps me going here, the success stories and small victories supporting clients into work, and the positive impact it has on their families and their community.”