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 Oisin McGrath from Defence Forces to give some advice for people considering this job:


Oisin McGrath

Lieutenant - Pilot - Air Corp

Defence Forces

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  Oisin McGrath

If you are seriously considering applying for the Air Corps you should check the pre-required Leaving Certificate subjects as outlined in the cadetship booklet. This is very important!!

Also, if applying you should get the details of the fitness test from the cadetship booklet and make sure you can do each of the disciplines well before the fitness test...a lot of people fail this part of the application process, and it can be passed easily!

If possible, you should organise a visit to Baldonnel through somebody that you know or maybe even your school...just to get familiar with the aircraft and to see the daily operation of the Air Corps.


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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Occupation Details

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Stevedore / Port Operative

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Some of these occupations may require a Leaving Certificate or similar.

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At a Glance... header image

Loads and unloads cargo from ships and controls and guides passengers and their vehicles as they pass through the port.

The Work header image

Stevedores load and unload cargo from ships. They control and guide passengers and their vehicles as they pass through the port.

In marine work they deal with everything at the port. A stevedore uses forklift trucks and cranes. On roll-on/roll-off ferries, operatives drive the vehicles that carry trailers on and off the ships.

On container ships, dockside cranes or the ship's own lifting gear is used to load and unload containers.

Operatives also use lorries and other vehicles to transport cargo from the quayside to outdoor storage areas.

Port operatives normally work a 40-hour week, in eight-hour shift patterns. Work is outdoors, in all weathers, but you may spend some time inside in the ship's hold or in cargo storage, which may be hot and cramped.

The work can be strenuous with plenty of lifting and bending. You may have to work at heights. Some cargoes can be dusty, dirty or oily, or produce unpleasant smells or fumes.


Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a Port Operative you will need:

  • Physical fitness
  • Normal colour vision, as some cargoes are colour-coded
  • Safety conscious as you may be working in a hazardous environment
  • Good at following instructions and explaining them to other people
  • Ability to work as part of a team

Entry Routesheader image

There are no formal entry requirements, but applicants will need to pass a medical examination.

The minimum age for entry is usually 21.

Although any driving involved will not be on public roads, most employers will require applicants to possess a driving licence in order to demonstrate good levels of driving skill. Experience of driving cranes, forklift trucks or lorries is often an advantage.

Some engineering skills could be useful for carrying out basic maintenance work around the docks.

Ref. Irish Maritime Development Office 

Last Updated: April, 2015

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Organisation: Irish Maritime Development Office
  Address: 80 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2
  Tel: (01) 476 6500
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Maritime, Fishing & Aquaculture

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