Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Dr Jan Steiner from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:


Dr Jan Steiner


Health Service Executive

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  Dr Jan Steiner
Try and get as much practical experience before entering the job as possible.

The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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Adult Learner

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Adult Education in Ireland

There are approximately 200,000 adults involved in formal, further education programmes. These are adults availing of education through local Education and Training Boards (including adult literacy, community education, Youthreach, VTOS, Back to Education Initiative, PLC programmes and Senior Traveller Training Centres)

Over the past two years over 10,000 adults have entered third level education (Higher Education Institutions), and there are now almost 160,000 adults on SOLAS (Formerly FÁS) programmes. A further 30,000 adults are estimated to take part in community education delivered by independent organisations operating in the community and voluntary sector.

To read a recent report on "Life Long Learning amongst Adults in Ireland" click here.

Courses and Awards

There are tens of thousands of courses on offer throughout Ireland. With the exception of 'Hobby' courses, most courses lead to some form of qualification from an awarding accreditation authority.

In Ireland, most qualifications fit into what is known as the The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). This framework divides all qualifications into ten levels. It can be useful to think of it as a ladder system; entry at the bottom is at Level 1 and Level 10 is at the top.

The range of Levels include different types of qualifications:

  • Basic Education (Levels 1-3) 
  • Certificates and Diplomas (Levels 4-7) 
  • Undergraduate Degrees (Levels 7-8) and
  • Postgraduate Qualifications (Levels 9-10)
To view the framework click here


AONTAS is the National Adult Learning Organisation, a member organisation which includes almost 500 providers, practitioners, and learners in the adult and community education sector.  AONTAS believes in the right of adults to access quality learning throughout their lives.  AONTAS provides information to adults thinking of returning to education, promotes adult learning through the Adult Learners’ Festival, and carries out research on adult and community education in Ireland. 

To view a copy of their What's Next? publication: click here

Phone: 01- 406 8220/1 or


The One Step Up website and helpline has been developed and is managed by AONTAS and aims to help adults to enhance their learning by promoting access to learning opportunities for all adults, a Freephone Helpline, and a calendar of learning events.

For more information Freephone the helpline on
1800 303 669 or e-mail here.


  Hint: BioPharmachem Ireland
I have partaken in a number of training programmes since taking on my current job including Performance Management, Conflict resolution, Lead Auditing, Internal auditing among others.

I am currently studying a Masters in Pharmaceutical Technology in Trinity College Dublin.

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