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 Padraig Parle from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:


Padraig Parle

Teacher - Special Needs

Department of Education and Skills

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  Padraig Parle
It is essential to be a very patient and organised person. Also you must have a sense of humour, be easy going and not take yourself too seriously.

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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Junior Cycle

Junior Cycle runs for three years and finishes with the Junior Certificate examination. In these years you will be offered a broad general education that will provide the foundations for your future education and career.

The Junior Cycle is undergoing some changes. From 2014, the new 'Junior Cycle Student Award' (JCSA) is being delivered, which features newly developed subjects and short courses, a focus on literacy, numeracy and key skills. Assessment and reporting is also different. The change started in 2014 with a new English Programme, followed by Science and Irish in 2015, and a new Business course and suite of short courses added in 2016.

Details of the new JCSA are available here

Junior Cycle Subjects

During the Junior Cycle you will learn a lot about a wide range of subjects, some of which you are likely to prefer more than others. For many students this is a time where you begin to get an idea about what you would like to do in later life. If you really like a subject, for example business, art or science, you may develop an interest in specialisng in that area in the Leaving Cert, or even in college when you leave school. Read about the subjects you are studying or might like to study in our section on Junior Cycle Subjects.


During the Junior Cycle is a good time to start thinking about and exploring careers. Start by taking some tests and exercises that are designed to help you understand how you differ from others. Everybody is unique, and the tests available here are designed to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses so that you can choose what's best for you. Tests are available from the Self-Assessment area.

Career Sectors, Occupations and Videos

We encourage you to start researching careers now so that you get an idea of the amazing possibilities that are available. In particular we recommend looking at lots of Career Videos to get an idea of what is possible. You can explore whole career areas by choosing the Career Sectors area - for example, business, medicine, or engineering to name a few. You can also find out all you need to know about hundreds of occupations - like what the work is like, what qualifications you need to get a job, how much you might earn and so on.

Subject Choice

All Junior Cycle students will have to make choices about what they would like to study for the Leaving Cert. These decisions are made towards the end of Junior Cycle or in Transition year. We provide all you need to know to help you make the right decision for you, in our LC Subject Choice area.

Study Skills

One of the greatest challenges in the Junior Cycle is learning how to study and perform in an exam. Our Study Skills guide provides tips and advice through videos provided by an American expert, along with a test to help you find out where your strengths and weaknesses are.

Dream Jobs

Getting the job of your dreams is a goal of most people - and why not? We encourage you to always dream about doing what you love to do, and never to give up until you achieve it. We asked hundreds of ordinary people around Ireland what they dreamed of for themselves - the box below gives some examples of what they had to say:

"I am in my dream job. But I also have always wanted to be a pilot/astronaut. It is something that I have always been interested in. I started taking flying lessons and it is something I can do in my spare time. Another path would have been to work in forensics."


Who said this? Find out here: go

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