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 Paul Dowling from Teagasc to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Paul Dowling

Horticulturist

Teagasc

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  Paul Dowling
Ideally, try and get a job in the industry for a summer, or get a bit of experience before you go into it. You have to be happy with working outside, and doing physical work. If you are not prepared to work hard or are looking for a soft job, don't go into Landscaping. Design is very sexy at the moment, everyone wants to be a designer, a Landscape Designer. It's different on the ground, you have to be out there on sites in all weather and you have to make sure projects are managed well and you're able to muck in with everyone else. Biology is most important for anyone going into Horticulture or Landscaping as it covers propagation and helps with the identification of plant names, species and families through the universal use of Latin. Chemistry is also helpful as the use of various chemicals is a constant in horticulture. The chemical content and dangers of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides in use in Amenity Horticulture needs to be understood anyone going into this business. Geography would be a relevant subject as well. Also, the simple things like having a full, clean driving licence, which can make you a lot more employable if you are trying for a job with a Landscape Conractor. This indicates that you are more mobile and can also drive a company van if needed. Be sure you're happy with the outdoor life. Having taken a Horticulture course will give you an advantage. However, it's possible to take a job first and study later, e.g. in IT Blanchardstown it is possible to study at night. I think you cannot beat doing the Diploma Course in the National Botanic Gardens because it is a good practical course which also covers all the theory and is invaluable for gaining plant knowledge.
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Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

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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Importance of Self Esteem

Before considering the results of any aptitude and career tests your child may have undergone in school, it is worth while being aware of how your childs self esteem may influence their answers.

Self esteem is an important factor in the psychological health of all of us. Self esteem is a measure of how a person values and believe in themselves, for example whether they believe they are worth something to themselves or others. If a child doesn't believe in their own importance, they arn't likley to be performing anywhere near their capacity. As a result, any tests and exploration they do can only reflect their own lack of belief in themselves, and will hardly provide a solid ground from which to build a career plan.

So before continuing, try and get a measure of your childs self esteem. The following table is a guide only, but may alert you to issues that need to be considered as part of your parenting around career matters.

High Self Esteem Low Self Esteem
is proud of his or her accomplishments in life avoids situations which require risk taking
can act independently feels powerless
assumes responsibility becomes easily frustrated
can tolerate frustrations is overly-sensitive
approaches challenges with enthusiasm always needs reassurance
feels capable of taking charge of situations in his or her own life is easily influenced by others
has a good sense of humor frequently uses the phrases "I don’t know" and "I don’t care"
can postpone gratification is withdrawn
seeks help when needed blames others for his or her failures
is confident and resourceful is isolated and has few friends
is active and energetic is uncooperative and angry
is able to spontaneously express his or her feelings is uncommunicative
is relaxed and able to manage stress is clingy and dependent 
has a generally positive attitude about life has a generally negative attitude about life

If your child is described more by those items in the High Self Esteem column, then exploring career and college options is likely to be productive, and any tests they may have done are likely to provide some useful information

If your child is described more by those items in the Low Self Esteem column, then your child may not be quite ready to be planning their future just yet.