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 Lydia Peppard from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:


Lydia Peppard

Care Assistant

Health Service Executive

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  Lydia Peppard
The advise that I would give to someone considering this job is to do their Leaving Cert and do the Transition year as this would give an opportunity to get some job experience or do some voluntary work within the community.

Do a Level 5 FETAC health related course. The skills and qualities that are needed to do this type of work are a real sense of caring for other people, communication skills, listening skills, be able to take and give constructive criticism without causing or taking offence, patience a willing to give your best effort to your work.

Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.
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Adult Learner

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Other Funding for Adult Learners

There are some other sources of financial support available to adult learners who meet specific criteria as outlined below.


The Special Initiatives for Disadvantaged Adults Scheme forms part of the community education grant. This is a small, discretionary fund to enable ETBs to support disadvantaged learners who are attending second chance education (FETAC Levels 1-4) and provides funds towards the cost of books, fees, materials, travel and food. It is only used in exceptional circumstances and where all other programmes do not apply, so for example, it is not applicable where a learner is in receipt of Back to Education Allowance

To find out more information contact your local ETB: click here


St. Vincent de Paul

There is some help at local level for clients of St. Vincent de Paul through an assistance fund. Applicants can apply to the Education Officer in the Society, enclosing a letter outlining what they are studying and what factors are inhibiting their studies. Generally this fund is reserved for learners who have not been successful with other agencies.

To find out more: click here

The Credit Union 

Credit Unions in Ireland provide support for members in their catchment areas for studying at all levels of further and higher education:

Education Loans - Credit unions offer education loans to members, either for the support of members themselves or for a son or daughter. Whilst a full-time course in higher education is generally the prerequisite for consideration, some credit unions may offer finance to support participation in other types of education and training. Credit union education loans are often offered at a cheaper interest rate than other types of loans.

Education Grants/Bursaries - Credit Unions provide a number of education grants or bursaries in their catchment areas for students studying at all levels of further and higher education.

Click here to go the national credit union site, here you can find details of your local credit union.

For more details of your local Credit Union: click here

Dublin Port Company Scholarships 

Dublin Port Company has initiated a scheme to provide opportunities for individuals living in the Port area of Dublin to access education. Candidates include school leavers, mature students and individuals wishing to pursue third level foundation courses and repeat leaving certificate students.

For more details: click here

Annie Kelly Education Bursary

This funding is aimed at people living in North Inner City Dublin communities who have been affected by drug misuse and is designed to promote access to third level education.

For more information phone: 01-8366592 or click here



Workers who are Members of SIPTU can apply for financial support of up to €1,000 for each year of an educational course for a maximum of 4 years, relating to trade union issues, equality, industrial relations and the wider labour movement. Closing date for applications is 30th September annually.

For more information: click here


Workers who are members of IMPACT can apply for financial support for courses in Industrial relations or Trade Union Studies to assist them in their role as a Union Representative.

For more information: click here

It is also worth exploring Grants & Scholarships for information on financial supports generally available to all 3rd Level Students, including Scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit or talent such as sport or music.
  Hint: Health Service Executive
Not immediately as I’ve just finished my Higher Diploma within the last year and that was very intense, with a massive commitment needed from me and my family. However there is compulsory refresher training and clinical up skilling on an ongoing basis that I’ll need to do. As you can see from above there is never a shortage of courses or further education open to Paramedics and Advanced Paramedics and no doubt in the near future there will be a course or position that I fancy advertised on the notice board.
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