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 Brian O'Connor from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


Brian O'Connor

Analytical Chemist

Smart Futures

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  Brian O'Connor
Science is a fascinating subject and you truly have to immerse yourself in it. When you do the rewards are fantastic. It is of course a tough subject but once complete you learn how to solve many problems yourself.

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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Higher Education - (3 & 4)

Did you know that approximatly 15% of students in third level are over the age of 23? Thats over 6,000 adult learners!

Courses at third level are offered mostly by Universities (7 colleges), Institutes of Technology (14 colleges), the Colleges of Education (5 colleges), and independent Private colleges.  The first three are substantially State funded and take part in the government free fees scheme, whereas Private colleges are all fee paying.

Ed Zone 3 Courses

These courses are two year programmes leading to a Higher Certificate (NFQ Level 6). They are run mostly in the 14 Institutes of Technology around the country.

On completion, participants can:

  • enter directly into employment, or
  • continue on to an Ordinary or Honours Degree in a related course.

Ed Zone 4 Courses

These courses last  three to four years (full-time) and lead to an Ordinary (NFQ Level 7) or Honours  (NFQ Level 8) Degree.

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Application to undergraduate (first time) entry third level courses is done through the CAO.

Go to CAO website

Some interesting facts about Third Level education in Ireland:

Third Level Stats

  Hint: Bank of Ireland

I would like to do a Masters in HR at some stage in the future but that is a few years away.  


It's not easy to study and work full-time and you need to be 100% committed. At the moment I don’t think I could guarantee that commitment!

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