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 Mary Ita Heffernan from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Mary Ita Heffernan

Social Worker

Health Service Executive

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  Mary Ita Heffernan

Whilst in secondary school, I changed my mind many a time regarding the career path I wanted to pursue! I always knew that I wanted to work with people but was unsure about the profession which would most suit my interests and skills in this regard.

While in school, I definitely found that being unsure about the type or area of work you want to pursue is a very difficult and confusing position to be in, especially given the array of career choices now available and the pressure one feels in trying to make one’s mind up.

To this end, I would strongly advise anybody in this position to research courses and job descriptions well in order to make the most informed decision possible at that time in your life. 

I recommend one tries to gain as much work experience as possible as it will provide you with valuable insight into your skills, ability, likes/dislikes for certain areas of employment!!!!

Also I would research the courses and job areas as much as possible so that you can make an informed decision regarding your choices. If you can't gain enough information in school, contact the college directly or arrange to talk to somebody who facilitates the course. In particular, it would be really valuable to talk to somebody in the profession to gain a realistic and practical insight into the job.

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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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Butler

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At a Glance... header image

A domestic worker employed in a large house or organisation to provide personal services to the home owners and guests.


The Work header image

A Butler's work can vary, depending on the particular setting in which they are employed.

In the domestic setting, work may include managing a household, offering a chauffeur service and serving at formal meals. The butler is also typically tasked with organising events and parties at the house and, if necessary, hiring security.

In a household setting, it is the responsibility of the butler to maintain and look after household affairs, ensuring that any tasks required by the family are completed quickly and efficiently.

Personal/household secretary is a typical role required of butlers, with duties such as shopping for the employer, handling and sending mail, maintaining the family agenda and overseeing family accounts.

A Butler working for an organisations such as a foreign embassy, or a luxury hotel, is required to tend to the every need of high profile or wealthy guests.

A Butler's tasks may include everything from packing and unpacking suitcases, running a bath, polishing shoes, managing a guest's laundry, to booking travel arrangements and doing personal shopping - no matter how exotic the requests.

Butlers are expected to understand social etiquette and to ensure the residence/hotel is properly prepared for visitors. Table management is a further skill required, which includes mastering food and wine pairings, service and place settings and menu creation. The goal for the butler is to facilitate an environment that is the most comfortable for guests.

Being able to speak a second language may also be useful, especially if you’re looking to find work with clients whose first language is not English.

You will usually need a full driving license to be a butler as your work may involve chauffeuring services.

A butler must learn tradition and history, yet employ the latest in modern technology to perform the job. You will find it useful to have good IT skills as work may involve organising and managing your client’s personal affairs using smart phones, tablets etc.

Tasks

Tasks may vary depending on whether you are employed by a family or within an organisation such as a luxury hotel but many tasks transcend both.

  • Setting a formal dining table
  • Providing a waiting service
  • Valet duties
  • Housekeeping
  • Answering and fulfilling personal requests from your employer/guests
  • Entertaining visitors to the house and anticipating their needs
  • Organising the family agenda
  • Performing personal assistant duties such as diary management, restaurant bookings, travel
  • Representing your client at meetings
  • Managing the household and staff
  • Chauffeur duties
  • Wine cellar management
  • Cooking and meal preparation
  • Flower presentation and design
  • Taking care of pets

A trained and experienced butler find employment opportunities in private homes with wealthy people of all nationalities around the world. It is also possible to find work in luxury hotels and official residencies, and on large yachts and cruise ships.

 


Personal Qualitiesheader image

You will need excellent communication skills and an interest in looking after people to work as a butler.

Patience, tact and diplomacy are required as well as an ability to work as part of a team with staff at all levels.

Excellent organisation skills are necessary in order for you predict your client’s needs and carry out your duties in a timely manner.

Impeccable attention to detail is important along with a strong uunderstanding of social etiquette and protocol.

An ability to be discreet and trustworthy is essential along with loyalty to your employer.


Entry Routesheader image

Becoming a butler was once a matter of serving your time as an assistant in a home or hotel alongside senior staff and learning your trade through experience. Old-school butlers don't usually have a university degree,  and although you can still become a butler through this route, in recent times there has been an increased demand for professionally trained butlers.

A degree in Hotel Management is the typical entry route, and a background in hospitality will help with completing the specific training for this job role.

There are a number of courses run by private institutions in the UK and USA which offer butler training courses and qualifications.   

The City & Guilds Diploma for Butlers is available in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England. More details available here.

The British Butler institute offer two Butler training courses that are recognised worldwide:

  • The British Butler Institute International 5 Day School for Butler Administrators and Household Managers
  • The British Butler Institute International 4 Week School for Butler Administrators and Household Managers

Individual hotels may also provide in house training academies to train staff in-house as butlers.

Last Updated: February, 2015


Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Irish Hotels Federation
  Address: 13 Northbrook Road, Dublin 6
  Tel: 01 497 6459
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

 

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