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 Maria O'Neill from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:


Maria O'Neill

Civil Engineer


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  Maria O'Neill

If you like working with others, and like problem solving then its definitely worth considering. Do you ever look at a bridge/skyscraper etc. and wonder how they did that? Or better still, are you looking at the way the road at home is laid out and thinking if they had of done something differently it would have been better.

Engineering is not a career people think about and say its helping people, but in many ways it is rewarding and just as much about helping people. Engineers design things used everyday that help people get to work, provide clean water, provide sewerage systems, care for the environment....


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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Career Profile: Farm Assistant

Cian Jobe is a Farm assistant and relief milker from Aughnacliffe, Co. Longford.

Farm details:

Area: 26 ha
Labour: Farm owner and Cian part time
Herd: 70 spring calving cows

Career path 
Level 5 Certificate in Teagasc Ballyhaise Agricultural College (1 year)


Cian is from a 12 ha suckler farm in Longford and has always loved farming. When he was 14 years old he started relief milking, this sparked his interest in dairying.

After completing his Leaving Cert, he completed the Level 5 course in Ballyhaise. During this course, he did his three month placement on a 180 cow dairy farm in Longford which he really enjoyed.

Overview of current role

For the summer, Cian is currently working a number of jobs. He works a few days a week for a dairy farmer milking 70 cows and completes day-to-day jobs such as milking, spreading fertilizer, topping and herding. He also helps out on the 180 cow farm where he did his placement and relief milks for a number of other farmers when needed.


Cian plans to use formal education to up-skill himself. The mix between practical and theory work is something he really enjoyed when doing the Level 5 qualification.

Cian has enrolled in the Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Dairy Herd Management next year and after that would like to do the Teagasc Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management course. As part of his Level 6 Certificate, Cian plans to travel to New Zealand this year to learn from dairy farmers there. He is also looking forward to living and working in another country.

Career goals

As his home farm is only 12 ha, Cian’s long-term aim is to get a farm manager job or enter into a partnership on a dairy farm. His current goal is to learn as much as possible about dairy farming

Article by: Teagasc