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 Aoife Lyons from Civil and Public Service Jobs to give some advice for people considering this job:


Aoife Lyons

Occupational Psychologist

Civil and Public Service Jobs

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  Aoife Lyons
Psychology is a very broad area and I would encourage people to reflect on the field that would suit them best. If you study pharmacy, you will graduate as a pharmacist. It is different in psychology. The role of a Clinical Psychologist differs significantly from the role of an Educational Psychologist, a Forensic Psychologist or a Sports Psychologist. A post graduate qualification will be required to practice in any of these fields. Regardless of the area of psychology that interests you, respect for and an interest in people is a key value that is required. Once you have qualifications, networks and professional bodies are a good way to meet prospective employers.

Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be drawn towards the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
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Junior Cycle Subjects
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Junior Cycle Subjects

On entering First Year of Junior Cycle most students are offered seven 'core' subjects and 2-3 additional subjects from options available at the school. Teachers normally recommend subjects for students based on their interests and previous performance. First Year often provides some flexibility for students to sample different subjects, with the final choice of subjects being settled on for Second Year.

Subjects are offered at Higher and Ordinary level, or Foundation level in the case of Irish, English and Maths.

Choosing whether to take a subject at Higher or Ordinary level in the Junior Cert can matter in terms of career. This is because entry into some college courses after school requires some subject grades at Higher level, which means the subject must be taken at Higher level for the Leaving Cert. It is unusual for a subject to be taken at Higher level for the Leaving Cert if it is not also taken at Higher level for the Junior Cert.

Choosing Subjects

The subjects you study can be placed together into six 'Subject Groups' based on what is studied. For most students, choosing subjects from each group is a good idea, as you will get a good rounded education as a result. However, if you particularly dislike a subject at this stage, you should look to find one that would be of greater interest to you.

The Subject Groupings

  • Practical
  • Science
  • Artistic
  • Humanities
  • Social
  • Business

It is important that you choose subjects that you have an interest in, and not because you like or dislike the subject teacher, or because your best friend chooses it.

You also need to know what you will be studying, and what you might expect to learn after your years of work and effort. Most subjects build up your general knowledge and provide valuable learning for all careers. Some subjects are more specific and prepare you for similar subjects in your Leaving Cert.

Explore Junior Cycle subjects here

As you continue your studies from Junior Cycle onwards, you will learn how the subject groups, and choice of subjects within them, continue to grow and expand. By the time you leave school you will be able to choose what to study from a selection of hundreds of courses.

"I used to dream of being an Olympic show-jumping champion. Unfortunately, while I had a lot of imagination, I lacked any spark of talent. It cost my parents a lot of money for me to figure that out. Thanks folks! "

Hint: Department of Education and Skills

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