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.


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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A Day in the Life of a Trade Union Worker

The work in a Trade Union is often varied and never dull. Work in this kind of area is interchangeable and can range from Industrial Relation matters to collusion with the Government in promoting the interests of their members for social development and justice.

The work of a union is on behalf of their members and is achieved through various management structures. Whether it’s at Head Office or committee level, each group share a common thread in seeking justice and promoting the interests of the members.

A daily routine always starts with calls from members who find themselves in difficulties or just need advice on smaller grievances. The main focus of the work lies in industrial relations. This can begin with a problem such as conditions of work or more frequently a lack of standards in the workplace.

The method used in dealing with calls is adopting a standard structure through various mechanisms whether it’s Union Agreements or Government Circulars.

The various problems that members bring to our attention include contractual and disciplinary problems, grievance & complaint procedures, pay, retirement & pension queries, maternity, paternity & sick leave queries, equality policies and the development and formation of policies, health & safety queries and managerial structures.

The mechanisms developed in dealing with these concerns are on first point of contact the interception of union officials at ground level and subsequently at management level if needs be. Where the need exists to resolve them further a case may be taken to an Adjudicator, Conciliation Service, the Rights Commissioner Service or the Employment Appeals Tribunal at the Labour Relations Commission.

At all stages the Union will represent their members to the best of their ability in search of social justice and legal equality.

Article by: LawEd