I took the Leaving Cert with Hons Biology and Chemistry. I then did the Amenity Horticulture course in the National Botanic gardens (a two year course then - now 3 with a practical year). Before starting in business, I took a "Start Your Own Business" course with the Irish Productivity Centre.
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
Biology and Chemistry were my favorites. Another which I found useful was Woodwork. Unfortunately, I gave up Woodwork, which is a good practical subject too early. The subjects I really enjoyed the most were Biology and Chemistry. Other practical subjects like Metalwork or Orienteering have been helpful.
Biology is most important for anyone going into Horticulture 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.
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
An interest in Biology, my favorite subject, and Chemistry - they were a great help. Then also doing the Horticulture course in the Botanic gardens. Plant Identification was very important. There's a huge range of plants there from all over the world, so it's a great place to learn plants, to get to know them. It gives you a huge advantage, because you know the scientific, the Latin and the common names. It makes things a lot easier.
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
I'm doing ongoing courses in safety, though probably at this stage in my career I'll be doing more at the business end of things, doing courses on communications and management and things like that.
I have attended some small courses on spraying and chainsaws, things like that at various times over the years. Some of these are run by Teagasc,FETAC, ALCI and others.
I attend business seminars, as well as other relevant seminars, on a regular basis in order to keep up to date with industry trends.