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 Paul Dowling from Teagasc to give some advice for people considering this job:


Paul Dowling



Read more

  Paul Dowling
Ideally, try and get a job in the industry for a summer, or get a bit of experience before you go into it. You have to be happy with working outside, and doing physical work. If you are not prepared to work hard or are looking for a soft job, don't go into Landscaping. Design is very sexy at the moment, everyone wants to be a designer, a Landscape Designer. It's different on the ground, you have to be out there on sites in all weather and you have to make sure projects are managed well and you're able to muck in with everyone else. Biology is most important for anyone going into Horticulture or Landscaping as it covers propagation and helps with the identification of plant names, species and families through the universal use of Latin. Chemistry is also helpful as the use of various chemicals is a constant in horticulture. The chemical content and dangers of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides in use in Amenity Horticulture needs to be understood anyone going into this business. Geography would be a relevant subject as well. Also, the simple things like having a full, clean driving licence, which can make you a lot more employable if you are trying for a job with a Landscape Conractor. This indicates that you are more mobile and can also drive a company van if needed. Be sure you're happy with the outdoor life. Having taken a Horticulture course will give you an advantage. However, it's possible to take a job first and study later, e.g. in IT Blanchardstown it is possible to study at night. I think you cannot beat doing the Diploma Course in the National Botanic Gardens because it is a good practical course which also covers all the theory and is invaluable for gaining plant knowledge.

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.
Career Interviews
Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
College Courses
Study Skills
Work Experience (School)
CV & Interview Preparation
Featured Article
logo imagelogo image
Return to List

Brid Sheehan - Grid Controller

Q: What’s your educational background?

I have a BSc in Applied Physics and Instrumentation as well as an MSc in Renewable Energy and Energy Management. I graduated with my BSc from Cork Institute of Technology in 2004. I completed my MSc through distance education with the University of Ulster.

Q: Tell us a bit about your job.

I work as a Grid Controller – I am the only female Grid Controller at Bord Gáis Networks. Grid Control is based at our headquarters in Cork and constantly monitors transmission gas flows (high pressure gas transportation through large steel pipes) and system pressures throughout the network. Grid Contol is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, 365-days-of-the-year operation and carries out its function with the assistance of hi-tech, industry-specific systems. My colleagues in Gas Control in our office in Finglas, Dublin, manage the distribution system, i.e. the pipes that deliver natural gas from the transmission pipes to our homes and businesses.

Q: What do you do on a daily basis?

As a Grid Controller, my role is to monitor the gas grid to ensure the safe operation of the Irish natural gas system. Some of the key parameters we monitor are gas pressures, temperatures and flows, and valve positions. We also monitor gas detectors around the country and control the flow and pressure of gas at strategic locations. This includes three gas turbine compressor stations. We have two stations in Scotland compressing gas for transportation to Ireland via two sub-sea interconnector pipes, and one in Cork where gas comes onshore at Inch from the Kinsale gas field.

Q: What do you like about your work?

I like the variety of people from different engineering disciplines that I interact with every day. I’ve been in the role for three years and I learn something new every day. The working hours are shift-based, which I enjoy as it allows me more flexibility to pursue my hobbies than with a 9-5 job.

Q: Any advice for people thinking about getting into this area?

I would advise anyone who is interested in this line of work to have an interest in a wide range of engineering disciplines and to gain experience in a few different areas of engineering, once they finish their preferred course.

Article by: Smart Futures