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 Keith Hayes from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:


Keith Hayes


Health Service Executive

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  Keith Hayes
At a minimum get your Leaving Cert, that’s required anyway. But don’t sell yourself short aim for a third level college qualification, something like a science degree. It may not have obvious benefits now but the career is changing direction so fast it could stand to you big time.

Take your time in applying I joined the service when I was 25 yrs old and looking back I think around that age is the right time. When you consider some of the calls we attend and things we may need to deal with, joining at 17 or 18 after the Leaving Cert with little or no life experiences may turn you off because it is very demanding physically, mentally and emotionally.

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Return to work supports

Often people worry about losing their social welfare benefits when they return to work. However, there are a number of supports and incentives available that can help you make this transition back into employment.

The Ready Reckoner is a user friendly tool for those in receipt of a jobseeker's payment. It gives an indication of the difference between your potential in-work and your current out-of-work payments based on information provided by you. The tool is anonymous and you are not required to enter your personal details.

To view this: click here

The following are some Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. Can I retain my Medical Card?

People who have been unemployed for a minimum of 12 months may retain their Medical Card for a period of 3 years if they commence employment. The Medical Card scheme is administered by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Q2. Are there any childcare supports available to help me make the transition to employment?

A subsidised after school childcare scheme is available to support low-income and unemployed people to return to the workforce. It is targeted at families that are most in need at a critical time in their progression into employment. By offsetting some of the child care costs associated with availing of an employment opportunity, the scheme aims to support individuals to take up employment.

Details of this scheme are available here.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs also provide additional subsidised childcare supports. Details of these schemes are available on their website 

Q3. My income is still low, can I claim any financial support now that I am back in work?

FIS is a weekly tax-free payment available to employees with children which gives extra financial support to people on low pay. New employees under JobsPlus may be entitled to receive Family Income Supplement (FIS). JobsPlus is payable to the employer it does not prevent you from claiming FIS. If you are signing off the Live Register and meet the other conditions for FIS in terms of hours worked (at least 19 hours per week) etc. you may be eligible for FIS. 

To find out if you are eligible for FIS: click here

Q4. is there any financial support available to me if I take part-time or casual work? 

Jobseeker’s payments and Part-time work

If you are unemployed and in receipt of either Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance you can accept an offer of part-time work and may be able to qualify for a Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance payment for the days that you are unemployed.
Working part-time is allowed, provided that you are:
  • unemployed for at least 4 days in any 7 consecutive days (including Sunday)
  • Genuinely Seeking full-time employment
  • available for work in respect of the remaining days of unemployment
Working for any part of a day, even only for one hour, is counted as a day of employment by the Department of Social Protection. You must advise the Department of any work you intend to undertake while receiving either Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you are engaged in part-time employment you must be available for and genuinely seeking full-time employment to qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance. 
The Part-Time Job Incentive (PTJI) Scheme, run by the Department of Social Protection, is intended as a stepping stone to full-time work. It allows certain long-term unemployed people to take up part-time work and get a special weekly allowance instead of their jobseeker’s payment. Recipients of the Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme must be available for and seeking full-time work while getting the payment.

For more information: click here
  Hint: Intel
Training is always an ongoing agenda item - we even have it listed as a default priority item in our official schedule here. It may be of the form of online classes, or classes in-house where the company brings in professional trainers/lecturers to give classes and information talks; or it may involve traveling to attend a class specifically tuned to your next objective. For example, my next class is a two day session about digital electronics, which will be pertinent to my current programming project. On average training in some form or other occurs about 3 or 4 times a year.
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