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 Darren O'Reilly from Accounting Technicans Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Darren O'Reilly

Financial Advisor

Accounting Technicans Ireland

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  Darren O'Reilly

Find and read all the information available about the course and profession to make a well informed decision before considering this career path. Understand the commitment involved and be willing to make sacrifices to complete it successfully.

Being organised is essential. Establish what goals you want to achieve and set out how you are going to achieve them – don’t lose focus along the way.

When starting off, the right training and experience is far more valuable in the long run than an initial pay increase. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day so patience is essential, you will eventually get there.

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Social?
Social 
The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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School & College Education - <p>This section has information on Primary, Secondary and Third Level education in Ireland</p>
Adult Education - <p>This section has information on adult and continuing education, including PLC, professional, and short courses</p>


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Sector Information
Bord Iascaigh Mhara

Organisation Profile
Department of Education and Skills


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Current Education:
When I was in secondary school, science and art classes were on at the same time. I wanted to do both of them. I choose to do science in class and was allowed to do art in my free classes and join in any art class that were taking place at those times. I sat Honours Biology for the Leaving Cert and Honours Art as well – it was important to me that the teachers were so flexible in my interest at the time. I worked in graphic design for several Dublin companies, producing a very varied volume of work for print. At one point I worked in the magazine industry designing and putting magazines together before the introduction of computers. When my children were small I helped my husband start a graphic design company. Over the years I worked in the company from time to time but was mostly a stay-at-home mom to the children. From 20 July 1969 I had a huge interest in the Moon, astronomy and space exploration. I was always showing kids the Moon, planets, comets, lunar eclipses in my back garden. It was only when my family were older that I had the time to jump into it and do something about it in a more serious way. I found myself back in college at Bray Institute of Further Education where I spent two years part-time doing all the modules that lead to a FETAC/NCVA Level 2 Business Studies. Communication was my favourite module and I decided to continue with that. Two more years at night and nine modules later I had a Diploma in Communication from University College Dublin.
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Education in Ireland

In Ireland, formal education is compulsory from age six to age 15, (Primary and early Secondary Level) and considered a fundamental right under the constitution. This education is designed to provide a good rounded knowledge of our world, and provide a good base from which we can make more personal choices about our learning.

After the State exams at around age fifteen (Junior Cert), we have a greater chance to direct our own learning. For the final 2-3 years of Secondary school, we have to choose subjects from a number of options on offer in accordance with our interests, our aspirations and our level of commitment to the workload that the course will require. These choices can influence our personal direction in life – and ultimately, our career path.

As we move on from Secondary school, the number of choices and opportunities expands dramatically. For those who continue their education, they may pursue courses in Third level or Further education programmes. With the exception of some private colleges, these courses are provided free to students under funding from the Department of Education and Science.

Over sixty percent of our second level students continue to Third level education. Students compete for course places through our CAO (Central Applications Office) system – entry being determined by a formula based on supply and demand alongside the expected minimum entry requirements.

Graduates of third level courses frequently (and increasingly) continue their education to Masters or Doctorate levels, providing employers with high quality candidates for our modern economy.

Our government is committed to encourage as many as people as possible to educate themselves to the highest level – as having a highly educated workforce is essential for our nation to compete economically with the rest of the developed world.

Continuous Education

Education never stops. As humans, learning is part of what we are. There is always some question, some curiosity, something we would like to understand better – whether it is something about the world of science, business, sport or whatever. Whether we follow our curiosity informally through conversation or books, or more formally by undertaking a course, learning goes on.

Lifelong learning is a term used to capture a range of courses that tap into our desire to take a more formal approach to understanding a subject we are interested in. This could be anything from pursuing a hobby (aerobics, creative writing etc.) to courses that lead directly towards career advancement (ECDL, Accountancy etc.).

Thousands of courses are available to people of all ages and interests throughout Ireland. These courses typically run from 6 weeks to two years and are privately run, and therefore incur fees. As the name suggests, these courses are characterised by attendance from people at all ages, and all educational levels. Many of these courses provide no certification – they are simply for enjoyment, and this is reflected in the friendly and enjoyable atmosphere in which they are delivered.

Each year thousands of school leavers and adults undertake PLC courses (Post Leaving Cert) – part of the Further Education system funded by the State. These are (normally one-year) courses for school leavers and adults that are run throughout Ireland, mostly by local VEC’s (Vocational Education Committees). These courses cover a wide range of topics and are designed to prepare students for particular jobs, or as an alternative pathway into the Third Level system.

People in all levels of employment can be challenged by the speed at which our economy progresses, and as a result need to continuously educate themselves within their area of expertise. There are hundreds of professional development courses run to facilitate this need, most are short courses aimed at increasing knowledge or skills in a specific area.

Not everyone has had, or taken, the opportunity to receive a formal education. Adults who now want to develop their basic skills (e.g. literacy, writing) can avail of specialised training run in VEC colleges around the country. These courses are free and can be tailored to the individual needs of participants.

Job Specific (Vocational) Training

Aside from the more formal and career specific knowledge gained through third level education, there are a range of training opportunities designed specifically for people who want employment in sectors such as construction, tourism, farming etc. These courses include trade and craft apprenticeships, and specific training for careers related to fisheries, food, hospitality, tourism, farming, forestry or crafts. Many of theses training opportunities are also available to students who want to leave school at the end of Junior cycle.

Employment Training

The State provides a number of courses and programmes designed to assist unemployed people increase their skills, and hence be in a better position to find new employment. These programmes are run by a number of agencies and serve people of different ages and circumstances. FAS, the Training and Employment Authority, also provide courses for current workers in certain industry sectors that have been marked for attention by FAS.

Studying Abroad

Despite the wide variety of study options and courses available in Ireland, significant numbers of people leave home every year to take up courses abroad. The UK is the most popular but opportunities exist in all corners of the world. Some 20,000 Irish students are enrolled in foreign universities annually, mainly in the UK, and to a lesser extent, the USA and Australia.

Qualifications

For most people, much of their education and training is focused on their career. At the successful end of a challenging course, we expect an award that is valuable and recognised by our potential employers. In todays global economy, we also can expect that our award is recognised throughout the world. The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) provides a way to compare qualifications, and to ensure that they are quality assured and recognised at home and abroad.

Finance

Education is funded by the state up to the end of Senior cycle and on into most Further educations and Third level courses. In many cases, however, registration fees apply which are not covered by the state. In the case of Third level entry these are expected to be in the region of €900 - €1,600 for those entering in 2009.

Post Graduate courses (Fourth level) and most Adult education courses are not free. For information on grants and other forms of assistance, go to www.studentfinance.ie


Online Resources 12
Qualifax [IRL] 
  Irelands National Courses Database. Extensive data on courses of all types throughout Ireland.
The Teaching Council 
  The Regulatory body for teachers in Ireland at primary and post-primary level
Irish Universities Quality Board 
  The IUQB Conducts regular external reviews of Irish universities and presents information for use by students and Guidance Counsellors.
Ploteus 
  Ploteus is a 'Portal on Learning Opportunities throughout the European Space'
FETAC 
  The national awarding body for further education and training in Ireland (Further Education and Training Awards Council)
PLC Courses (Dept of Ed) 
  List of Department of Education & Science approved PLC courses for the current year
Citizens Information - Education & Training in Ireland 
  Useful overview of information related to education and training in Ireland from the Citizens Information website.
Student Finance 
  This website is a convenient and user-friendly source of information on financial support for further and higher education
Studying in Ireland 
  All you need to know about studying in Ireland. Compiled by the National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE).
National Framework of Qualifications [IRL] 
  Website of the National Framework of Qualifications - full of useful information about the different qualification levels currently used in Ireland.
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