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 Fergus O'Connell from BioPharmachem Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:


Fergus O'Connell

Quality Officer

BioPharmachem Ireland

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  Fergus O'Connell
A broad science background is very important. An ability to recognise small inconsistencies is equally important. For example do you recognise small discrepancies between different camera shots of the same scene in films and TV series?

An ability to question everything and think laterally is important. Also the ability to say 'no' (not everyone is comfortable doing this). Working in quality is not about being popular and definitely not about being a tyrant but one needs to be approachable, consistent and have good interpersonal skills.

Not all of your decisions are going to be popular but they need to be based on a sound rationale and you need to be able to support them. One also needs to be acutely aware of the fact that your opinion won't always be right.

One must always be open to being convinced of an alternative argument.

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
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CAO Change of Course Choices facility closes TODAY 1 March

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CAO Change of Course Choices facility closes TODAY 1 March

Tuesday, March 01, 2016 

CAO Change of Course Choices facility closes TODAY  1 March

The CAO Change of Course Choices facility closes on 1 March at 5:15 pm

The CAO Change of Course Choices facility is available to all CAO applicants for a fee of €10.00 up to 1 March at 5:15 pm.

Registered applicants who wish to use this facility simply log in to their CAO account and click on the ‘Change Course Choices’ tab and follow the steps provided.

Check out any New Courses for 2016 entry here that may have been added since you made your choices.  

Mature applicants to CAO, and applicants considering applying for courses that are classified as “restricted courses”, should take note of this upcoming CAO deadline.

CAO communications officer, Eileen Keleghan, commented: “In the main, this facility will be used by those who have forgotten to include a restricted course before 1 February, or by those who are classed as a restricted category applicant, for example a mature applicant.

“In the case of mature applicants, many of the institutions need such applicants to have applied for their courses no later than 1 March in order to allow adequate time for their application to be assessed.

“Other institutions will still consider applicants who use the Change of Mind facility, but in order to avoid any unnecessary restrictions we would encourage restricted category applicants to make any changes before 1 March.

Restricted courses are courses that may require an additional assessment, for example a test, interview, or portfolio. Restricted courses are highlighted in the CAO handbook as ‘Restricted – see page 3’. “If an applicant is unsure about a restricted course our advice would be to add the course at this stage. A restricted course can always be removed at a later date, but in most cases, applicants cannot add a restricted course after this deadline”, added Ms Keleghan.

A listing of Restricted Entry Courses in available here

For more information about restrictions, applicants are advised to read page three of the CAO handbook, and for a step-by-step guide to using the Change of Course Choices facility applicants can watch the video guide available in the Student Resources section of

Late Application Facility

The CAO late application facility will open on 5th March at noon for a fee of €50 for online applications.

The CAO video guide to the Change of Course Choices process is available here.

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The CareersPortal team