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Teachers are placed within these schools, both in the city and out in the desert, and for many it is a very challenging and slow changing system to work in.
Teaching in private schools is more systematic and structured, with routines easily set and maintained. While the global economic downturn saw a huge decline in construction worldwide, Abu Dhabi continued to grow upwards and outwards.
At that time, teaching in private schools and nursing in local hospitals were the main employment opportunities.
If you had a college or university degree and your first language was English then you were a very employable person in a school, while Irish nurses were held in very high esteem in the established hospitals here.
Many Irish engineers and construction managers are employed on island projects, residential and retail projects and other initiatives along those lines.
Today there are fewer Irish nurses employed in Abu Dhabi.
On the other hand, Irish teachers are very much in demand.
I took a year’s career break from teaching in a primary school in Limerick city.
The move was an exciting chance to travel abroad, experience new cultures and work at the same time. ten years later and I still find it hard to believe I left Ireland over a decade ago.
Brid Tierney: ‘Word has spread throughout Ireland that the UAE is willing to offer gainful employment to those who are skilled, educated, and willing to work hard.’ Photograph: Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority Brid Tierney, a primary school teacher from Co Tipperary, moved to Abu Dhabi in 2004 for a short-term work opportunity.
A decade later, she and her husband are still happy there, with no immediate plans to move back to Ireland. I’m a Co Tipperary native and I moved out to Abu Dhabi in August 2004.
What employment opportunities are there for public sector workers in the UAE?
When we first arrived here we were among a small crowd of Irish making what we thought was a short term move to the Emirates.