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.
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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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Postgraduate Education - (5)


Postgraduate education (Ed Zone 5) is a growing sector in Ireland, and includes the highest levels of academic achievement available. Courses here available in a number of formats, and span different time committments.

Completing a course of graduate study is a challenging and exciting experience, which confers skills, experience and a sense of achievement valued by employers and students. People study for graduate degrees for a variety of reasons:

  • studying your degree subject in greater depth
  • enhancing your job prospects in your chosen career
  • retraining in a different area
  • taking a postgraduate qualification as the next step in your career, for example in law, or education.

For the above reasons the graduate degree experience enhances a person's personal development and experience. It also provides a range of skills and expertise in a subject area that is transferable across a broad range of careers and life settings.

Employers, commenting in a recent university survey on those who have completed graduate degree courses and worked for them made the following declarations:

  • I tend to think of PhD students as more worldly wise and would expect to be getting additional maturity when we recruit them.
  • I would welcome more applications from PhD students. I think the organisation needs their qualities.
  • The fact that someone has done research can show enthusiasm, dedication and focus. Additional maturity can bring with it a better work ethic and more organisational loyalty.
  • We see PhD students as having a wider range of skills to offer - analytical and numeracy amongst others.
  • Postgraduate students have analytical skills, find new solutions to problems and are open to new ideas, these are very important skills.

Very often people undertake post-graduate courses to specialise in an area or to change their career. These courses are at Levels 9 and 10 on the NFQ framework.

You can search for these through Postgradireland.com

Also, it is worth investigating individual college/university websites for detailed descriptions of the postgraduate course, application procedures and the closing dates for application.

We also recommend you visit Graduate Careers Fairs, especially those aimed specifically at postgraduate study.

For more information on post-graduate study: click here.

  Hint: Civil and Public Service Jobs
Training courses are constantly taking place within the Service in many diverse areas such as Hostage Negotiation, Security Units and Dog Handling Courses. As yet I haven't completed any of these but they are on my list!

I'm participating in a college course at the moment, a combined venture between the Irish Prison Service and Sligo I.T. which I find challenging but very rewarding. Although I may not be actively partaking in training courses, I am very aware that while I am on the job I am constantly learning. I think the day I stop learning is the day I should leave.

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