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 Marie O'Donovan from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:


Marie O'Donovan

Environmental Officer

CRH plc

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  Marie O'Donovan

You should possibly consider studying environmental science or environmental engineering in third level.

You would also need to consider if you would like do quite a bit of driving during your day and to be able to oragnise your own work plans as both these things are important.


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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Apprenticeship Training
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Apprenticeship Training

Currently all Apprenticeship Programmes are of 4 years duration, except for Print Media, which is 3 years. Apprenticeship programmes are typically distributed over 7 phases of "on the job" and "off the job" as follows:

The main providers of off-the-job training are Institutes of Technology, but two Colleges of Further Education also provide these phases.

In practice, much more time than the minimum shown above is spent in the workplace over a 4 year period.

The apprentice is required to follow a specific course of training and to undergo a series of assessments to confirm that the required standards have been reached.    

The Training

Technical Training (Off-the-Job) 

This form of training involves learning practical skills together with the theoretical elements including maths, science, technical drawing (where applicable) and personal development skills. Apprentices will be required to pass a series of Modular Assessments (tests) throughout this training. These will consist of practical tests, short answer and/or multiple choice knowledge tests and coursework assessments. An examination fee is paid to Institutes during phase 4/6.

Practical Training (On-the-Job) 

This form of training is with the employer where the apprentice gets practical training and experience of doing the job. In addition to the skills and knowledge gained, the apprentice will develop competence, confidence and the ability to perform to industrial standards. The apprentice will be assessed on the ability to perform specified tasks to pre-set standards.  

Course Structure

The apprenticeship system is a modular standards-based system generally comprising of 7 alternating phases of on-the-job and off-the-job training and development. These alternating phases of training consist of 3 off-the-job and 4 on-the-job phases. The duration of the 3 off-the-job training phases does not normally exceed 40 weeks.

Exceptions to this are the apprenticeships in Floor and Wall Tiling, which has 5 phases of training and follows the minimum 4-year cycle and Print Media which has 5 phases and follows the minimum 3-year cycle.

The off-the-job phases are delivered by a Training Centre, an Institute of Technology or another approved training provider. The key factor in delivery of an off-the-job training phase is that it is delivered in a single training environment to ensure the integration of practical training with the necessary theoretical and personal skills. (Links to training course providers are available below)

Course Duration

The apprenticeship cycle is deemed to be complete when the Results Approval Panel approves that the apprentice has successfully achieved the required qualifying standard, completed all of the alternating on-the-Job and Off-the-job phases of her/her apprenticeship and served the minimum apprenticeship period as specified by SOLAS from time to time. An Advanced Certificate Craft (Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications) is awarded to successful apprentices.

Off-The-Job Apprenticeship Training Course Providers

Institutes of Technology and Further Education Colleges
  • AIT - Department of Engineering Trades - click here
  • DIT - Information on Electrical Apprenticeship - click here
  • DIT - Apprenticeships in the designated trades - click here
  • DFEI - Apprenticeship in the Designated Trades - click here
  • GMIT - Courses in Apprenticeship Education - click here
  • IT Carlow - Apprenticeship Courses - click here
  • IT Tralee - Engineering Apprenticeship - click here
  • LIT - Craft Apprenticeship Training - click here

Pre Apprenticeship Training

For those interested in being trained as an apprentice, towards ensuring that you are in with the best possible chance of being accepted for an apprenticeship when an opportunity arises - there are a number of Further Education Courses available which are designed to equip participants with the initial skills needed for the particular apprenticeship area. These are called pre-Apprenticeship training courses:

Approved Course Providers

DIT offers a two-year Level 6 course in Building Management in which participants develop some of the skills offered through apprenticeship such as bricklaying, plastering, painting and decorating See DT170 here.

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September 19, 2016 

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Round Two CAO offers 2016 issued today
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