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 Claire Hanrahan from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:


Claire Hanrahan


CRH plc

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  Claire Hanrahan

The candidate needs to have a desire to travel. That is the most important. Travel is a vital part of the role of Internal Auditor at CRH. Your travel percentage ranges between 40% - 70% per year. They do try to keep it at a minimum but with a high staff turnover, you could be placed on additional audits that are short staffed.

You need to get on with all the people you work with also as you're away with these people for 4 nights a week for 4 weeks. You need to be friendly and outgoing and easy to get along with as it can get stressful on jobs so the last thing you want is someone who has attitude problems or can't communicate properly! Those 2 aspects are the most important for me.


Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Existing Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship is the recognised means by which people are trained to become craftspeople in Ireland. The main craft trades have been designated by SOLAS and come within the scope of the Statutory Apprenticeship system, which is organised in Ireland by SOLAS in co-operation with the Department of Education and Skills, employers and unions.

Commonly known as 'learning a trade', apprenticeships have always been an attractive career path. The aim is to help the apprentice to gain the knowledge, skills and competence required to perform effectively as a craftsperson.

Did you know ...

New professional apprenticeship options are proposed for 2016 in the areas of: Software Development, Medical Devices, Financial Services, Accountancy, Logistics and Hospitality.

The apprenticeship approach is ‘earn as you learn’ through a structured and accredited approach. Candidates earn a wage during their instruction period and have the opportunity to advance through modular training over a period appropriate to the skills that must be acquired.

Apprenticeship generally comprises of Seven Phases over 4 years*. Three phases are 'off-the-job' and four are 'on-the-job'. During the off-the-job phases, apprentices attend a training centre for Phase 2, and a further two phases (Phase 4 and Phase 6) at a College of Further Education or Institute of Technology. Phases 1,3,5 and 7 are time spent on-the-job.

Apprentices are paid throughout their training both 'on-the-job' and 'off-the-job' (See Pay & Fees). Some employers will even pay accomodation costs for apprentices whilst in training. 

*There are exceptions - e.g the Print Media apprenticeship is 3 years.

Apprenticeship is a great way for young people in particular to get onto the career ladder, earn money, gain meaningful experience and get a qualification up to Level 6 or beyond on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

An apprenticeship qualification is mobile throughout the world and is recognised as such. Many Irish apprentices have competed very strongly in the World Skills Competition, winning medals for the skills they have learnt. World Skills is effectively the Olympic Games for apprentices. The most recent competition was held in Germany, where young Irish apprentices performed very well, bringing home 2 gold medals, 1 bronze medal and 7 medallions of excellence.

Apprenticeship positions are very popular and you will be competing with other applicants, so it is essential that you can impress the employer by dressing well, speaking clearly and making good eye contact. You want to project confidence and that you can communicate well. It is important that you present yourself in the best possible light right down to your CV and cover letter.

Transition Year (TY) is an ideal opportunity to gain knowledge of the trade or craft that you might have an interest in. Work experience opportunities allow students to see in a practical way how subjects such as maths or construction studies are relevant to the workplace.

SOLAS Apprenticeship applies to the following crafts:

  • Agricultural Mechanics *
  • Aircraft Mechanics *
  • Brick and Stonelaying
  • Carpentry & Joinery
  • Construction Plant Fitting *
  • Electrical *
  • Electrical Instrumentation *
  • Electronic Security Systems *
  • Farriery
  • Floor & Wall Tiling *
  • Heavy Vehicle Mechanics *
  • Industrial Insulation
  • Instrumentation *
  • Mechanical Automation and Maintenance - MAMF *
  • Metal Fabrication
  • Motor Mechanics*
  • Painting & Decorating *
  • Pipefitting
  • Plastering
  • Plumbing *
  • Print Media *
  • Refrigeration & Air Conditioning *
  • Stonecutting & Stonemasonry
  • Sheet Metalworking
  • Toolmaking
  • Vehicle Body Repairs *
  • Wood Manufacturing and Finishing

See Apprenticeship Types for a detailed description of each apprenticeship.

Bursary for Women Apprentices

Note: Apprenticeship provides opportunities for women to broaden their career options into new and non-traditional areas of work. To promote this, a bursary is offered to employers in both the public and private sectors to encourage recruitment of female apprentices. Click here for details.

*A person wishing to become an apprentice in one of the trades marked * must pass a colour–vision test approved by SOLAS.

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