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 Dave McDonald from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


Dave McDonald


Smart Futures

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  Dave McDonald

A caring attitude is essential for Health and Safety – you need to be passionate about getting the message across to people and telling them why it is so important. After all, no-one wants to see anyone suffer harm or be in pain.

For astronomy, a yearning for answering the unanswered questions is a must. You also need to be dedicated and focused and not put off by the weather


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Entry Requirements
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Entry Requirements


The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age.


  • Grade D in five Junior Certificate exams, or an approved equivalent.


  • If you don’t meet the minimum Junior Cert requirements, you may still be able to register as an apprentice if you successfully complete an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course.


  • You can also be eligible if you are over 16 years-old and have three years of relevant work experience, as deemed acceptable by SOLAS. 

It’s worth noting that employers may require additional minimum qualifications to those specified by SOLAS.

NoteExperience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the particular trade.

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert, including Maths (with at least a grade C3 in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.

SafePass and/or Manual Handling Certification are also valued by employers in certain sectors.


  • Your employer must be approved to train apprentices.
  • Your employer must register you as an apprentice within 2 weeks of recruitment.

Always check the SOLAS page on eligibility and assessment for any changes to entry requirements.

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