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 Elva Bannon from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


Elva Bannon

Mechatronic Engineer

Smart Futures

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  Elva Bannon

I found having education in a number of different areas of engineering to be beneficial to the work I am doing.

There is a whole world of possibilities out there for engineers, and it is difficult to know what subjects are necessary for the industry you will end up in. I was always interested in robotics and environmental issues, but it was not until my Masters that I really knew what I wanted to do.

General entry courses are quite useful, as you get a taste for a few different areas before you have to specialise, a lot of companies offer on the job training, and there is also the possibility of further study.

An engineering qualification teaches you so much more than just the technical subjects, but a way of looking at the world and solving problems in a logical and systematic way.

Engineers are sought after for these skills as much as the technical ones, and it opens up incredible opportunities. Engineering is not an easy route through college, but it is incredibly rewarding.


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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Trade Union Official

Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€25k > 40 
Trade Union Official
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€25 - 40 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2011

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Acts as a representative for workers in employment related negotiations with employers.

The Work header image

Trade Union officials give advice when members have a problem at work, and represent them in negotiations with their employer. They circulate information between employers and employees, deal with legal and safety matters, disputes and pay claims and represent members in difficulty, for example in cases of injury and unfair dismissal.  
Union members usually elect someone to speak on their behalf - this could be a shop steward or office representative. These representatives pass on their views to the management and to full-time union officials. Most unions have branches to support local organisations. In larger organisations, there may be a union branch on the premises, staffed by elected or recruited officers (depending on the union). Very large organisations may have full-time officials on the premises.  
Most full-time officials are field officers working in branch and district offices. They cover an industry or area, helping elected office or workplace representatives, and often taking part in negotiations themselves.  
Field officers organise, support and advise workplace representatives. Many will also supervise teams of clerical support staff. Other typical duties include attending and organising meetings, rallies and conferences.  
National officials work in head offices alongside specialists in trade union affairs, including accountants, lawyers, researchers, and press and information officers. Duties include recruiting members to the union, managing union funds, public relations, general administration and dealing with the media. Head office officials help to plan and put into practice union policy. The job involves dealing with people, analysing information and organising time effectively. 

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Advise management on matters related to the administration of contracts or employee discipline or grievance procedures.


Call or meet with union, company, government, or other interested parties to discuss labor relations matters, such as contract negotiations or grievances.


Draft contract proposals or counter-proposals for collective bargaining or other labor negotiations.


Draft rules or regulations to govern collective bargaining activities in collaboration with company, government, or employee representatives.


Identify alternatives to proposals of unions, employees, companies, or government agencies.


Interpret contractual agreements for employers and employees engaged in collective bargaining or other labor relations processes.


Investigate and evaluate union complaints or arguments to determine viability.


Mediate discussions between employer and employee representatives in attempt to reconcile differences.


Monitor company or workforce adherence to labor agreements.


Negotiate collective bargaining agreements.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a Trade Union official, you should have a thorough knowledge of industrial legislation and an understanding of management techniques. Good communication skills are very important. You should have strong powers of reasoning and analysis, and be capable of motivating, advising and training workplace officials.  
A confident, outgoing nature is important. Good negotiating skills are required, in addition to administrative and organisational abilities. You should enjoy being involved in problem solving situations.  
You should be passionate about wanting to help and support people at work, and be committed to protecting their interests. You should have an understanding of the important part that unions play and have played in making our working lives fair, safe and properly rewarded. You should also keep up-to-date with current employment issues, for example, new legislation to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace.

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Trade Union Official - from:  N.C.S. [UK]

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Contactsheader image


Organisation: Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
  Address: 31/32 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
  Tel: (01) 889 7777
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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