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

 

Deirdre Sayers

Primary School Teacher

Department of Education and Skills

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  Deirdre Sayers
Do not go into teaching solely for holidays, and definitely not if you want to be rich! You need to like children be patient, kind and be able to work with many types of people.
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Realist?
Realist 
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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  In Focus...
At a Glance... header image


Advertising header image

ADVERTISING

We like to think that we are immune to the persuasive powers of advertising and marketing, but in reality we are not. Just think of the amount of exposure you get on a daily basis, through advertising materials - billboards, TV, radio, magazines, direct mail, shop front displays all influence our decisions when purchasing clothes, food, cars, music and everyday items. Even our holiday destinations are influenced by advertising.  Universal access to the internet and social media now means that we are surrounded by advertising - 24/7.

Successful advertising should grab our attention, stick in our minds and most importantly, influence us to buy the product. Advertising is a huge area and it will continue to grow alongside consumerism.

Sector Regulation
The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) is the independent body responsible for promoting the highest standards in advertising, promotional marketing and direct marketing.

The ASAI is self-regulatory. This means the advertising industry adopted standards drawn up by, and on behalf of all advertising interests. The standards are enforced through the commitment and cooperation of advertisers, agencies and media.

Below are some of the many different job roles in advertising:

Account Manager
Represents the client at an advertising agency and plays a key role in the development of the advertising campaign. Account Managers/Handlers are responsible for developing an in-depth understanding of the client's marketplace, their business, their objectives and then working closely with planners to translate the brief into agency creative briefs. Their job involves dealing with almost every department in managing the whole advertising process.

Strategic Planner
Strategic planners represent the consumer. People in this job are typically trained researchers and are responsible for bringing a whole consumer perspective to the communications process.

Strategic Planners develop the key strategic insight behind the advertising idea. To do this, they need to understand as much as possible about the consumer, or target market. They work closely with the client to research the market, using and commissioning quantitative and qualitative data research. The Planner will then write and present a strategy for the advertiser in response to the findings i.e. hopes, fears, behaviour, of the consumer base. 



Media Planner
Planners in a media agency will take a brief from the client which highlights the message they want to communicate to the consumer, in accordance with a particular budget or planned spend on the campaign. Together with the strategic planning people, the Media Planner will identify the optimum target audience, develop a close understanding of this audience's media habits and use this information to create a media plan and identify the channels that should be used to maximise the creative idea that will best connect with the target audience.

The Creative Department
The creative department of an advertising agency is where the advertising campaign comes together. Creatives generally work in pairs e.g. a Copywriter and an Art Director. They take the client brief and work with it to invent ideas to address the brand's business issue. Next, they work with media planners/buyers and the production department to turn the ideas generated into a reality.



An Art director is usually, but not always, art-college trained. The role of the Art Director is to respond to the creative brief by communicating ideas or moods visually.



A Copywriter may have graduated with a degree in any of a number of subject areas, but may just as easily be art-college trained too. It's not the qualification that's important — success in this field is based on creative talent. The copywriter's role is to respond to a creative brief by communicating ideas in written or verbal form. To get a job as a creative, the most important thing is your 'book' — the portfolio of your ads and work to date to showcase your talent.

Creative Services & Production Department
This is where art and creativity meet reality and commerce! - where ad campaigns are made, and make money. People working in this area need a variety of skills.

Most other disciplines within an advertising agency are pretty much set in stone, but creative services differ across advertising agencies. The following job roles typically come under creative services: 
  • Creative Services Director
  • Creative Services Manager
  • Art Buying
  • TV Production
  • Studio Project Management
  • Traffic Management and
  • Print Production.
Creative Services Director – manages all resource, ensures that the department is running efficiently and all costs spent are competitive and output is to the very highest standard. 



Creative Services Manager – people in this job role report to the Creative Services Director and take on shared responsibility and day-to-day issues in getting the project to completion. 



Art buyer – provides the creative team with a variety of photographers and illustrators that will execute the ad in the most beautiful and effective way possible. The Art Buyer manages the pre-production meetings where all aspects of the shoot are approved, e.g. casting, styling, location etc. 



TV Production Department
This department normally has a TV Producer and Production Assistants. The department is responsible for the production of all TV commercials, cinema advertising, virals, radio and mood films - basically it handles anything moving or with sound. 



Studio Project Manager – this job role handles the workload going in and out of the studio. The Project Manager's role is to oversee timing and production budgets and drive the project through to completion. They must ensure that deadlines are kept and at every stage of the process and communication between the account team and creatives.



Traffic Manager – ensures that all briefs go through the Creative Department smoothly. They have to manage the time of the Creative Team Members, juggle their workloads and allocate briefs with the Creative Services Director. 



Production Manager – The Production manager is responsible for the output from all advertising campaigns.
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Agriculture header image

The land area of Ireland is 6.9million hectares of which about 4.2 million hectares (64%) is used for agriculture. Beef and milk production account for approximately 58% if Irish agricultural output. There are 139,000 family farms in Ireland, producing enough food each year to feed 36 million people.

Agriculture is not just confined to farming - the sector is linked to everything from the clothes we wear (cotton jeans and t-shirts, woollen jumpers and coats, leather shoes and jackets) to the food we eat and drink - it is worth €24 billion to the national economy annually. When we go on holiday or even pursue our hobbies we often engage the services of people working in the Agriculture Sector.

Tillage Farming
The cropped area in Ireland extends to 378,000 ha or 9% of farmed land. Crop production (including horticulture) contributes €700 million to agricultural output. There are 11,000 growers with a further 15,000 employed in the food processing sector dependent on tillage crops. Crop production amounts to 2.3 million tonnes annually while a further 3 million tonnes of animal feed ingredients are imported. Irish cereal yields are the highest in the world.[See also agri food sector] 


Dairy Farming
The business environment for dairy farming is changing rapidly - the removal of milk quotas provides an opportunity for dairy farm businesses to expand. Herd size will increase on many dairy farms over the coming years, requiring an increased level of skill in both the physical and financial management capability of farmers.

The expanding Irish dairy industry can now provide a range of attractive career opportunities that can potentially lead to farm and business ownership. Those from a non-farming backgrounds who have an interest in pursuing a farming career should carefully assess the dairy career opportunities of interest to them.  The dairy industry wants to attract new, well trained and highly motivated people into the sector at all levels. Increasingly, it is providing significant opportunities for progression upwards from one career role to another.


"The expanding Irish Dairy Industry can now provide a range of attractive career opportunities that can potentially lead to farm and business ownership."

Explore
"Stepping Stones to a Career in Dairy Farming"
TEAGASC, July 2015

Government Labour Reports forecast a decline in the number of people employed in traditional agriculture careers such as farming, but the wider sector offers many new career opportunities such as Food Scientist, Horse Breeder, Environmental Officer/Management and Agricultural Research.

Although the nature of some of the work in this sector can be very physical, it offers a healthy and rewarding lifestyle. As a starting point, you should consider whether you would enjoy the outdoor life and working with nature.

Agri-Business

Agriculture-related businesses include: Supplying farmers - i.e. the manufacture and sales of animal feed, fertiliser, equipment, machinery and even insurance; and the Marketing of farm produce - i.e. the distribution, processing and retailing of agricultural and horticultural products to consumers. There are currently over 50,000 people employed in these areas. 

Agri-Tourism

There is a growth in outdoor recreation and it is creating career opportunities for people supplying professional tourist services in rural settings in activities such as horse-riding, fishing, golfing, sailing and hill-walking and accommodation. Many farmers are now opening their farms up to tourists. This form of expanded Agri-tourism has potential to offer full and part-time careers.

The Equine Industry

Horse Racing and breeding contribute almost €1bn annually to the Irish economy and employs over 17,000 people. There are some 7,700 registered thoroughbred horse breeders in Ireland and nearly 1.2m people attend race meetings during every year year. Over 9,000 horses are in training, with are over 20,697 registered stallions, mares, and foals in the country. 

The Irish sport horse sector caters for related disciplines such as show jumping and dressage. This sector directly employs 11,417 people, and involves 47,096 people overall. There are an estimated 124,000 sport horses in Ireland. They contribute to the household incomes of 29,295 people. Sport horse breeding accounts for a total expenditure of €226m within the economy and the sector has 15,110 active breeders.

Teagasc provides high quality education and training for the equine sectors at both Level 5 and Level 6. Th e QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Horsemanship is offered at Kildalton College. Subject to adequate demand, a Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Stud Management programme leading to a QQI Level 6 Certifi cate in Equine Breeding may also be offered.

Ask the Experts ... 
Our Sector Expert Teagasc is the primary provider of further education courses in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food, and equine studies. Many courses incorporate management practices and the use of technologies on the home farm, with supervised project work and discussion groups.
View Teagasc Courses here
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Visual Arts header image

The visual arts is the term used to describe creations we can look at i.e. drawings, paintings, sculpture, architecture, photography, prints, film - the creation of a two or three dimensional visual.

Visual arts are a sub section of Fine Arts, which also includes Dance, Music, and Theatre. [See Entertainment & Performing Arts for a detailed description of Dance, Music and Theatre]. Creative arts and media encompass the visual arts - graphic arts, film, drama, music and performing arts, in addition to aspects of the work of museums and galleries, and, in a wider sense, architecture.

Architecture is the design of buildings and structures. Architects may be involved in designing widely varying projects, from a residential house, to a stadium such as the Aviva, to large scale town planning. To qualify as an architect takes 7-9 years. You must first get a degree from a recognised school of architecture, followed by two years of approved practical experience and then succcessfully complete an examination in Professional Practice. The Royal Institute of Architects Ireland (RIAI) is the registration body for the Profession. The EU has a directive on architectural qualifications and any course recognised under the directive is also recognised by the RIAI. The RIAI list currently includes UCD, DIT, WIT, UL, UCC, CIT, QUB and UU.

Photography - Photographers specialise in many different areas. Some take pictures for journalism and the print media, others  for specialist medical and scientific publications. Some choose to run a small studio, but most are self-employed and work freelance and are in demand to cover all the special events in our lives such as weddings, christenings, and family portraits. There are a variety of courses in photography available at certificate, diploma and degree level. Explore the course menus on the Left hand Side of this page. Check individual course details and specific entry requirements.  A portfolio of work may be an entry requirement.

Printmaking - Printmaking is the production of images either on paper, or on other materials such as fabric, parchment, plastic, by various specialist processes of multiplication such as woodcut, linocut, lithography, silk screen, or etching among others. There are no formal education requirements for printmakers, but a Bachelor's degree in fine arts with an emphasis in printmaking can serve as the first step toward a career in printmaking. An apprenticeship is a route for a student to learn the trade and to increase career opportunities. Many established printmakers teach and run classes to support themselves and finance their work. They may also offer technical or advisory support to students.

View the Sample Occupations menu on this page to explore Visual Arts occupations such as Artist, Printmaker or Sculptor in detail.

[Visit the Media and Publishing Sector  for information on Film-making, animation, television and related careers]

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Building & Construction header image

The Building and Construction sector has a dual role in Ireland’s economy:

  • As a sector in its own right, it directly provides 96,300 jobs across a variety of occupations and levels of skill, accounting for 5.2% of total employment and 6.4% of GNP. An additional 48,000 indirect jobs are provided through the sector. (Forfás, July 2013)
  • The sector also provides and maintains the physical infrastructures and buildings on which other industry sectors, and society depends. 

The construction sector is currently comprised of over 40,500 enterprises, significantly less that in the boomtime of 2006. However, the overall company size profile remains roughly the same, with the vast majority (96.7%) being small companies, employing less than 10 people.

For detailed information on the up-to-date situation in the sector with regard to employment opportunities and career prospects visit the "Ask the Experts" section on this page.

Useful Career Sheets from STEPS to Engineering [pdf files]
Building Services
Civil Engineering
Engineering Life
Building Services Engineering
Civil Engineering
Engineering Life

A career in construction really depends on how much physical or technical work you want and the level you decide you want to work at. 

Like most areas of work it’s only when we do a little research that we begin to unravel a surprising range of both interesting and rewarding careers.

When something is under construction or indeed in the pre-planning construction stage, it is referred to as a building project. Construction projects are varied and can include house building, building of schools and hospitals, water supply networks, transport systems, and power stations.

In order to achieve the high level of quality required in the construction industry it is important to produce highly skilled personnel who are trained to adapt to new technologies. The industry is now very much management oriented and most people working in construction have third level degrees.

Careers in construction can be divided into four areas:

  • Construction Craft Workers (Operatives, Labourers)
  • Trade Craftspeople (FÁS four year apprenticeships)
  • Engineers and Quantity Surveyors.
  • Architects

Construction Craft Workers

Over 40,000 people work as general operatives in the construction sector. In the past, these jobs were referred to as 'labourers' and regarded as unskilled roles. Today, these on-site jobs have become more specialised - Steel workers, Pipe layers, Scaffolders, Heavy goods vehicle drivers, Machine operatives, Asphalt layers and Demolition workers - all require a good deal of training and skill. 

Training for construction craft workers is sometimes offered ‘on the job’ but an approved certified course is becoming the norm. The slow down in the sector has resulted in little employment for general operatives in this area and has also made it very difficult to get apprenticeships. However, this situation is now set to improve.

In order to work in any capacity on a building site you must have a Safe Pass Certificate.

Trade Craftspeople

There are a large number of Trade Craftspeople operating in this sector. Trades in the industry divide into 'wet trades' (trades which use dry building materials that are mixed with water e.g concrete, mortar or plaster) and 'dry trades'.

  • Brick and Stonelayer
  • Plasterer
  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • Carpenter/joiner
  • Painter/Decorator
  • Tiler
  • Construction plant fitter
  • Fitter

Craftspeople in these trades have been trained as apprentices under the Designated Crafts Scheme organised by SOLAS (formerly FÁS).

Professional Careers

The construction of any major building project is a feat of co-ordination and involves managing a range of people with specialist skills. The professionals in the construction industry are: The architects who plan and develop designs for the construction project; The civil engineers who evaluate, research and manage a variety of major civil engineering schemes; The building surveyors who examine existing properties advising on any defects; The quantity surveyors who calculate the cost of the building project and the much sought after construction managers who plan and manage the operations.

Each of these professionals has spent a number of years in third level education and must meet the specific requirements of their professional bodies.

Others work as Technicians alongside the professionals. Technicians carry out duties under the supervision of their respective professionals. They too are likely to have taken a course in 3rd Level (Level 6 or 7) in one of the IT Colleges around the country.

Engineering Careers - Download the 2015 Engineering Sector Overview from gradireland.com

Opportunities in the Building and Construction Sectore will remain into the future, especially for those with specialist and professional skills.

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Business Management header image

Business Management

Management in simple terms means the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals. Management is made up of planning, organising, resourcing, leading or directing, and controlling an organisation for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. A manager's job is to maintain control over the way a business or an organisation does things, while also leading, directing and inspiring their staff. A key managerial responsibility is 'resources'. This means finding the right people (Human Resource Management) or money (Financial resources), or whatever else is required to keep an organisation running. Other resources that a manager may be responsible for include:

  • Information Technology (IT)- ensuring effective IT systems are being used in the organisation
  • Materials - making sure materials are used productively and with minimum waste
  • Time - ensuring time is used efficiently across operations
  • Buildings, machinery and equipment - ensuring safety, appropriateness, maintenance and efficient use 

Managers have responsibility for the many services that allow organisations to operate efficiently. Specific duties for managers vary according to the degree of responsibility and authority they have.Business Management roles can be found in all of the following example areas:

  • Retail  -  supermarket or store manager
  • Manufacturing - production or personnel manager
  • Utilities   -  operations manager (electricity, gas and water supply)
  • Construction  -  project management
  • Distribution  -  distribution/logistics manager
  • Hotel & Catering -  hotel manager
  • Transport  -  ICT and business services manager

Managers can exist at different levels in an organisation:  Senior management is generally a team of individuals at the highest level of organisational management who have the day-to-day responsibilities of managing a big company or corporation. People with even greater levels of responsibility, such as a Board of Directors and those who own the company (shareholders), will focus on managing the senior management, rather than the day-to-day activities of the business.

Large organisations may have many managers: Managers in charge of different regions (Regional Managers); Managers in charge of different aspects of the business, for example they might manage a department (sales) or particular function (IT). These mid-level managers develop departmental plans, set goals and deadlines, implement procedures to improve productivity and customer service. Mid level managers may also be involved in the hiring or dismissal of employees (HR Managers). 

Getting into Business Management

Educational requirements for business organisation and management vary widely depending on the size and complexity of an organisation. In small companies a two-year Higher Certificate from a Third Level College would be desirable. Some work experience may also be required for positions in office management. In larger organisations where specialist management roles are performed, higher business and management qualifications are usually looked for, such as level 7/8 Degrees.

Employers typically seek job applicants with commercial awareness for management positions. Business studies graduates should have the edge here because they develop specific skills: business analysis; marketing; research methods; sensitivity to organisational needs; and good quantitative skills during their studies. Those wishing to enter into HR should try to ensure that this topic is part of their degree programme.

Business graduates consistently have good prospects across the industry sectors in the areas of business services, legal services, the regulatory environment, financial services, communications, social services, tourism, culture and marketing. 

Business Organisation

All businesses have employees, who work at different levels of responsibility, depending on their place in the structure of the business, or the way in which the business is 'organised'. The organisational structure indicates such things as: the method of leadership that the business uses; where the dividing lines are for responsibility; lines of communication; company policies; authority and chain of command; and the direction of information flow etc.

Business organisations commonly adopt either a Hierarchical organisational structure, or a Flat structure. 
Some may opt to follow a Matrix or Cluster model.

Hierarchical business organisations are like a pyramid - they have employees at many different levels, with a clear 'Chain of Command' in place:

Top Level:

Board of Directors; President; General Manager;

Chief Executive Officer (CEO); 

Mid-Level:

Finance Manager; Production Manager; HR Manager;

Sales & Marketing Manager; Operations Manager; 

Entry or Operational Level:

Senior Accountant; Assistant Accountant;

Area Sales Manager;

Production Supervisor; Team Leader;

Sales Staff; Production Operatives;

At the bottom, or lower end of the chain of command are Operatives, the staff who produce the products or services that the business offers. Operatives report to the next level e.g. Team leaders, who are responsible for day-to-day, hands-on management roles. Team Leaders in turn, report upwards to roles such as Operations Manager, who in turn reports to a General Manager.

The number of employees at each level of the hierarchical business structure depends on the size of the organisation. Opportunities for promotion up through the business may be from a department, to become an expert in a particular area or function, to then run a section and become part of the Management Team.

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Chemical Science & Engineering header image

Chemical or process engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the application of physical science (e.g. chemistry and physics), with mathematics, to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms. In addition to producing useful materials, chemical engineering is also concerned with pioneering valuable new materials and techniques, an important form of research and development.

Engineers Ireland is the professional body for Chemical and Processing engineers and engineering.

Chemical engineering largely involves the design and maintenance of chemical processes for large-scale manufacture. Chemical engineers in this branch are usually employed under the title of Process engineer. The development of the large-scale processes characteristic of industrialised economies is a feat of chemical engineering, not chemistry. Indeed, chemical engineers are responsible for the availability of the modern high-quality materials that are essential for running an industrial economy.

The difference between chemical engineering and process engineering lies in the emphasis of the degree course: while chemical engineers concentrate mainly on chemical processes, process engineers deal primarily with the plants needed for this, their design and technical conditions.

Chemical engineering is responsible for the production of chemicals for use in our everyday lives. Chemical Engineers work in a wide range of areas including:

  • Water and waste water treatment
  • Oil refinement and petrochemicals
  • Electricity generation
  • Food and beverage production
  • Cosmetics and textiles
Chemical and process engineers are in demand by the chemical and pharmaceutical industry in areas ranging from environmental protection and the food industry, to plant construction. In the oil industry, for example, they supervise refineries; in the cosmetics industry, they make sure that skin creams do not go mouldy even without preservatives or that nail varnish is long-lasting.

Chemical and process engineers often work on projects with mechanical engineers, materials scientists or electro-technical engineers. The role of the process engineer is to maintain a good overview of the work.

The chemical and biopharmaceutical industries continue to be among the fastest growing sectors in Ireland. Nine of the top ten companies globally (Pfizer, Merck, GSK, J&J, Novartis, Roche, Amgen, Eli Lilly and BMS) have research, manufacturing and services activities here.

The National Skills Bulletin Report lists Chemical and Product Formulation Engineers and Analysts among the most frequently cited difficult to source engineering occupations, with reference to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical devices and chemical industries sectors.

 

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Civil & Public Service header image

The Civil and Public Service is made up of over thirty different Departments and Offices which provide services for and on behalf of the Government, and employ thousands of people: 

Department/Office No. Employed
Central Government Bodies (the “Civil Service”) 36,329
Local Authorities 28,306
Health Services 101,505
Education Services  90,702
The Defence Forces 9,979
An Garda Síochána (Police) 13,352
Non‐commercial State‐Sponsored Bodies 10,686
Total 290,861
Source: Irish Presidency Survey on the Structure of the Civil and Public Services of the EU Member States and Accession States (June 2013)

The Public Services work with Government to create and implement new policies and services, dealing directly with the public or even providing market research information. 

Career areas across the public services include education, health services, transport, finance, library services, fire service, IT, community based opportunities, arts and leisure opportunities and many more. Occupations are diverse, ranging from accountancy to HR to customer services. Clerical, administrative, management, technical and specialist staff all have significant roles to play. 

Public Service Sector job titles include: Clerical Officer (CO); Executive Officer (EO); Higher Executive Officer (HEO); Administrative Officer (AO); Assistant Principal (AP); Principal, Secretary General and Third Secretary
[See 'Sample Occupations' menu on this page for a detailed description of each job role].

Public Appointments

Recruitment for all jobs in the Civil & Public Service is undertaken by the Public Appointments Service.

Note: The recruitment and promotion moratorium that has been place since 2009 in the public service, was lifted in a targeted way under Budget 2015. The recruitment of 550 Public Service roles was announced in late 2014, and campaigns for Clerical Officer and Executive Officer positions have taken place to date.

[See 'Ask the Experts' panel 'Public Appointments Service' for detailed information].
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Software & Programming header image

Software and Programming are central to the computer industry.  In order to function, a computer needs information about its task and it needs to be programmed to do what you want it to. This is the software.

Ireland is Europe’s premier location for software development. There are over 730 indigenous software companies, employing over 10,000 people. Since the 1980s, leading US software vendors, including Microsoft, Oracle and Symantec, have based their European operations centres in and around Dublin.

Nine of the world's top 10 software companies have established a significant presence in Ireland. Traditional players with long-established operations, such as Intel, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Apple, have been joined by newer firms at the forefront of the internet and social media revolution: 
Google; Facebook; LinkedIn; Amazon; PayPal; EBay, and most recently Twitter, firmly positioning Ireland as the internet capital of Europe.

Ireland has overtaken the USA as the biggest exporter of software in the world.  60% of all software sold in Europe originates in Ireland.

Some of the career roles that can be found in this area:  

  • Software Development: This is the process of developing software to meet the requirements of the end users (the customers). This would include roles such as the Systems Analyst - individuals who analyse and design software systems that meet requirements. Programmers and Developers are involved in writing the code or instructions that tell the computer what tasks to carry out. Programmers need to learn the computer languages (e.g. C++, Java, COBAL) which are used to develop software, and because there are many languages, and they keep getting more powerful, students and workers in this area need to constantly keep up with the latest developments.
  • Software Engineering: These roles combine experience in computer science, engineering, and maths to design, define, and organise many aspects of a complex software product.
  • Quality Assurance & Testing: Every piece of software that is written must be tested extensively, and this requires the work of QA engineers.
  • Technical Writing: Technical writers are professional writers who design, create, maintain and update many types of technical documentation, online help, user guides, white papers, design specifications, and other documents. Involves the writing of computer manuals for the customers of new computer software
  • Technical Support: Support that is given to the computer hardware or software user from the manufacturer of the equipment or developer of the software. This includes help in installing and using the products.
  • Database Management: The people who design and maintain databases of all sizes.
  • Web Design: The design of websites for businesses and organisations
  • Project Management: Just about all software design involves complex projects that need to be managed. IT Project managers are the people in charge of delivering a project on time and within budget.
  • Marketing and Sales: The research and promotion, advertising and sales of computer products.
Useful Career Sheets from STEPS to Engineering [pdf files]
Computer & Software 
Engineering
Engineering Life
Computer and Software Engineering

 

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Clerical Work header image

CLERICAL WORK

The services provided by clerical staff are needed in schools, colleges, hospitals, government agencies, corporate and small businesses, medical and legal offices, art galleries, community sector organisations and many, many more.

The day to day work of someone working in a clerical role involves tasks such as answering the phone, typing and word processing, chasing up accounts, organising and filing data, addressing the needs of senior staff, briefing clients and sometimes the general public. 

Clerical jobs tend to be more entry level than those in administration. They typically involve doing basic functions under an amount supervision. Administrative roles can mean that the job is a bit more senior - you may have your own area of supervision to ensure a task gets done and require less supervision in the particular role.

Clerical roles include:

Clerical Assistant (also called Clerk or Clerical Worker) - tasks include the routine, day-today administrative tasks in a business or organisation, or in a department within the organisation. People in these jobs are very organised, have good IT and written skills and a good telephone manner. Responsibilities include filing, dealing with post, recording and maintaining data using computer or manual systems, and other general office duties. Their work provides support to an office team.

In larger companies where you are part of a team of 'clerks', you can work your way up to Senior ClerkSection Head or Office Manager. You can also choose to specialise in a particular area of clerical work such as Accounts ClerkLegal ClerkHR Assistant, or Personal Assistant (PA).

Front Office Staff

Front office staff, such as the Receptionist, play a key role in organisations because they reflect the image of the organisation in which they work. Since they are the first point of contact between the public and the organisation, either by telephone or in person, they communicate certain messages by how they look, dress and behave. 

Because of the increasingly fast pace of business life today, all clerical staff must learn how to function efficiently under pressure, and in a multiplicity of ways, in a fast changing environment. The public who interact with the organisation can be very demanding. Front office staff must be able to deal with the public in a calm, but efficient, friendly manner.

For this kind of career, you need to have good written and spoken English. It is becoming increasingly important to be reasonably proficient in at least one other European language. Qualities such as good organisational skills, keyboard and computer skills, competence in managing office requirements, good communication skills, a pleasant manner and a neat and tidy appearance are also important.

A degree is generally not necessary for entry into clerical work. An office skills training course may be useful for certain positions. 

Getting into Clerical and Administrative work

These job roles typically require strong written and spoken communication skills, together with computer skills, organisational and time management skills, and to be able to complete tasks to a high standard. 

A large number of courses relevant to careers in Clerical and Administration are run in PLC and IT colleges throughout the country. Students taking these courses gain experience in all aspects of the technology relevant to the smooth running of modern office environments.

Courses are usually one year in duration and are full-time with work experience provided as an integral part of their study.  These courses aim to equip their students with the necessary practical and computing skills and the knowledge necessary for the dynamic world of business.

[Explore the CAO and PLC/FETAC course lists available on this page]

Courses would typically include subject areas such as IT skills (Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Database), Business Law, Book-keeping, Communications and Business Calculations.

Advanced administration courses are also available for specific sector areas. See the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) for a wide range of accredited courses.

Clerical and administrative staff can work as part-time or full-time employees. Salaries for individuals in clerical and administrative jobs are wide-ranging, from a starting salary of €18,000 for a secretary, upwards depending on the type of position as well as years of experience. 

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Electrical Engineering header image

Electrical engineers deal with large-scale electrical systems such as power transmission and motor control. They create and design products using scientific principles, combined with natural curiosity, problem solving and innovation.

An electrical engineer can be employed in the design and construction of power lines, in the control and management of power stations, or in the design and installation of electrical systems and machinery, such as transformers, electric motors and power electronics. 

Electrical engineers will play an important role in the future development of a sustainable environment. There are a wide range of challenging paths available to an Engineer, Technologist or Technician. Career opportunities include:
  • Industrial research and development labs
  • Energy supply corporations
  • Software and services companies
  • Civil service
  • Technical monitoring agencies
  • Research institutes and educational institutions

Electrical Engineering graduates are found in such fields as computer engineering, energy engineering, transport engineering, communications engineering and media.

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Drama & Theatre header image

Ireland has a thriving drama and theatre world. It has achieved major honours, producing four winners of the Nobel Prize (GB Shaw, WB Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney), in the 20th Century alone. A recent survey of the Arts in Europe found that over one third of all the plays being performed in London were by Irish playwrights, and new works by modern playwrights such as Marina Carr, Martin McDonagh, Brian Friel or Conor McPherson are as likely to be premiered in New York or London, as they are in Dublin! 


Video: Getting into Theatre … A career in the Performing Arts

What do you need to know about getting a career in the performing arts? Ten people, with careers spanning across the industry, talk about how they got into theatre and how you can too.

There are more professional theatre companies and dramatists in this country today than ever before. Drama and theatre are also becoming important elements in our educational system while broadcasting, film and television also offer new career opportunities to Irish graduates.

As well as actor or playwright, careers in this area include Stage manager, Casting director, Artistic director, Choreographer, Technical designer, Set designer, Costume designer; Make-up artist; Lighting technician; Stage manager; Pyrotechnician; Theatre critic; Theatre manager, or Drama coach.

There are are a wide range of related courses available from acting to theatre performance. Explore the Education and Training menu on this page.

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Fashion header image

The wide range of products included in the fashion sector – clothes, bags, jewellery, shoes, cosmetics, hair accessories - means that somebody interested in working in this area could be employed anywhere from a high street fashion store selling leading brands, or a small boutique selling their own niche designs, to posing on the catwalk or working on the glossy pages of a style magazine. 



There are few statistics available for Ireland, but a detailed survey of the UK's fashion industry commissioned by the British Fashion Council (BFC) concluded that the UK fashion industry is worth £21 billion a year to the economy, and as much as £37 billion when related businesses are taken into account. These figures make the fashion business the 15th largest industry in the UK. The sector directly employs 816,000 people, making it the second biggest employer in the UK.
 [Full Report available in Online Resources area]

Modern fashion houses and high street chains offer many opportunities to designers and models alike, making a career in the industry a possibility for many different people. There varied opportunities for college graduates and school leavers, ranging from the highly creative to the more business-orientated roles. In fact, the fashion and beauty industry is rife with cool jobs in pretty much every sector. Some of these are outlined below.

Fashion Design
Fashion Designers understand that clothes are much more than protection from the elements. Clothes can make people feel confident or powerful, they can be comforting, or be an artistic expression - a projection of the image people want the world to see.

While good fashion design will probably never be equated with a cure for disease, or a solution for world hunger, fashion can make a person feel better. Some may say that fashion is purely superficial, but appearance can have a profound effect on us, both personally and to the world at large. Whether you think of royalty or rock stars, you visualize their appearance and presentation. What people wear projects who they are, or sometimes, who they want to be!

The elegant and often eccentric styles found on the runways of Paris and New York do not represent the full scope of a Fashion Designers' work. In reality, there are a multitude of opportunities in fashion design, from sportswear, to children's clothes, to haute couture. If you can wear it, someone has designed it.

Modelling

‘Imagine having an exciting high-paying job as a professional model. Imagine walking down a runway at a designer fashion show, or having your photo taken for Vogue or your favourite magazine.’ 

This is the wording of an advertisment taken from a modelling recruitment website. Unfortunately this is far from everyday reality. Modelling is hard work. 

Fashion designers set the trends that others follow. Those who make it in the industry are under constant pressure to stay ahead of the game. The fashion market is very fickle - a designer brand can be huge one day and forgotten the next. The same applies in the modelling world. Hundreds of hopeful young models spend years working for nothing in the hope of landing a good contract. However, the constant need for new models with different looks leads to a high turnover in the market.

The career of a model can be short lived, lasting only 2 to 3 years, as looks and trends are constantly changing and designers are consistently looking for new models or new faces to promote their goods. Few people will still be modelling past the age of 28 and the pressure to succeed in this short space of time is immense.  

Only a small number of models manage to work their way up in the modelling world and be in constant demand. Many models find that they need to supplement their income with other work, as modelling work is rarely in constant supply. Some models go on to careers in Retail Management, Fashion Journalism or Fashion Photography.  

In Ireland, models typically find work at venues to promote products, launch parties to advertise products and in print or TV. The public percepition of life as a model tends to be based on the success stories we see. We never get to see the hundreds struggling to succeed, trying to build up their portfolio and experience by doing the best work they can get, most of the time badly paid, and sometimes not paid at all.

If all this is not enough to put you off and if you believe you have the self discipline, determination and good lucks then begin your career search by contacting a modelling agency. 
[Read 'A Day in the Life of a Model' in our Featured Articles section]

Fashion Clothing Design
Fashion design is the product development activity of the commercial clothing, design, manufacturing and distribution industries. 

Fashion designers need to be creative, have an eye for detail and be willing to try something new. The fashion designers’ key function is to come up with new and unique ideas for a line of clothing. Designers are also responsible for developing patterns and overseeing production.

Fashion Designers typically work in-house for clothing manufacturers, on the company's design collection. Most work for small design companies. Their work involves producing the design, cutting the pattern and finishing the garment. They produce ready-to-wear collections that are sold through selected shops. 

Some designers work for large wholesale manufacturers and create designs suitable for large department chain stores. A professional fashion designer will need to posess specialised skills and an in-depth knowledge of their chosen field as well as a deep understanding of the fashion environment. 

Other designers choose to be self-employed and work on their own individual design collections. This is an intensely competitive area and to succeed, the designer needs to build up an impressive portfolio. 

 
Video interview with young Irish fashion designer Simone Rocha 

Dressmaker / Seamstress
As a seamstress, you are responsible for the creation of the designer’s ideas. Dressmaking is a very creative job and once you are known in your field you can work as a freelance dressmaker, working at fashion shows and getting to try your hand at creating a range of deigns and styles.

A fashion degree or fashion design course is the best way to start towards both jobs, as it is the perfect opportunity to learn the necessary techniques as well as getting advice from people in the industry. Work experience placements are often part of a fashion degree and are a good way of building up contacts that may be useful at the end of your course.

Fashion Technician/Technologist
Fashion technicians liaise with design and production staff to create products in response to the designer's brief and specification, which will include sizing, costing and manufacturing processes. This role requires specialist knowledge of industrial sowing techniques and machinery, as well as pattern cutting and associated processes. 

Fashion technicians typically work with clothing and textile manufacturing companies, to produce samples, amend designs where necessary, dying and printing textiles and problem solving to arrive at the required finished product.

Production Management
This is the front line of fashion. Production managers are responsible for the whole process of getting clothing made at the manufacturing level. They work at every stage of the process to ensure a quality product is made.

The field of Production Management has the potential to be exciting and challenging.  It brings together business systems and fashion. There is a growing movement towards “zero waste” in the area of production -a business concept where very little material goes unused, as a way of keeping costs down - It’s a design as well as a manufacturing challenge.

Clothing consumption worldwide has reached an all-time high. Everyone is interested in the magic formula of getting clothes produced cheaply, but with a certain level of quality at the same time. The sustainable fashion movement is growing, and adds another layer of challenge for Production Managers.  Mindful, more eco-friendly designs are the message, and the design industry has started to listen. Modules on sustainable design are slowly becoming part of many design courses.

Fashion Merchandising/Sales and Marketing
This is another area where design and business intersect. Designers ultimately need to get their product to the market. Merchandisers track and monitor fashion trends and consumer trends. Creativity combined with a good head for numbers and required in this area of work.

There are many options that fall under the merchandising umbrella. Retail management is one.  This is often an under-appreciated career path. You can make a good salary in retail management, alongside gaining first-hand knowledge of a multitude of brands, marketing strategies, and people management.

Retail Sales and Assistant/Manager
Fashion Retail workers keep the retail side of the fashion businesses going, developing relationships with customers and acting as a personal stylist for anyone who walks through the door. A Retail Marketing Assistant/Manager is responsible for how a brand is presented in the store through shop windows, the layout of the clothes within the shop and in company publications. It can be a creative role and if you are a good communicator with lots of ideas then this could be the job for you. 

Fashion Salesperson
A fashion Salesperson is responsible for selling a fashion brand to shops. You need to be confident, persuasive, very good with people and able to meet strict deadlines. The advantages of working in fashion sales is that will have the opportunity to travel a lot and meet a variety of people. It can also be lots of fun working as a team to meet your targets. 

Fashion Buyer
Buying is another route in the fashion business. This job requires some years of experience on the retail shop floor and as a buyer’s assistant. Most buyers start out selling in a particular department of a store, and eventually become buyer for them. 

The Fashion Buyer is responsible for bulk orders of the clothes and merchandise you see in high street shops. You need to have an eye for what looks good, be confident, and be good with people as there as this job involves lots of meetings with suppliers. Fashion Buyers generally get to travel a lot and have the advantage of knowing what is going to be big next season, before anyone else gets to know. 

A fashion course is a good way to find out more about current fashion trends. Once you have graduated, a fashion buyer role typically starts in a junior position and is trained up to become a buyer. Work experience is also a good way to get in to this sector.  
[Read 'A Day in the Life of a Buyer' in our Featured Articles on this page]

Fashion Marketing and PR
Do you have an arty, creative, mind? Advertising might be for you. This is the age of quick media consumption. You can work at corporate level - think of all the different brands that you already know! or you can work at the retail level. How does a big department store actually sell all those perfumes, cosmetics, accessories etc.? 

A PR Assistant/Manager is responsible for representing a fashion brand to the public. You have to be a confident person to work in this area, as there is lots of public contact. You also need to be able to work both independently, and as part of a team, as you will be working closely with the marketing department, and working independently to answer press enquiries, for example. 

Branding is another huge area of fashion - all those cheeky names that perfectly describe a new nail polish or lipstick, or that perfect scent that captures just the right blend of alluring notes? It's actually somebody's job to come up with those names. Working in marketing and PR has its advantages - not only are there lots of freebies up for grabs, but if you are working for a popular brand you may also be able to meet the current face of the brand you are representing.

No specific degree is necessary to work in this area, but it is a good starting point. You will typically be trained up on the job, but a proven interest in fashion and good communication skills will definitely help.

Fashion Journalist
Do you love to write and love fashion? The opportunities to report on what’s happening in the world of fashion have never been greater. Magazines are expanding into online presence and hiring bloggers to report up-to-the minute news. As well as magazines, there are opportunities to write for e-commerce sites, PR firms and trade publications.

First and foremost, you need to be a good writer. Consider writing courses - a journalism degree or a creative writing programme as a stepping stone into this career area.


Getting into the Fashion and Design Industry
Fashion design is a highly competitive job market, so education level can make a significant difference between candidates who are otherwise equally qualified. In fact, education makes you a more appealing job candidate in any field. However, no matter what fashion design college you attend, or which kind of degree you get, you should expect to start in an entry-level fashion design position. As you gain experience in the field, your position and salary will increase. Find a niche you love and learn everything about it.

Apart from modelling and the design aspect of the fashion industry, career opportunities include:

  • TV and film -stylists are constantly required for productions and can offer the opportunity to work in a range of settings
  • Image consultants
  • Fashion boutiques
  • The international fashion market

Fashion Sector Outlook
Reduced sales have been a major factor for the fashion industry over the recession years, with price a major issue for consumers. The net effect was a reduced demand across the sector, resulting in the cancellation of significant fashion and trade shows. Consumer spending has been showing signs on being on the increase in recent months, which can only be good news for the sector.

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Banking header image

Millions of financial transactions take place in Ireland every day and management of all this ‘money movement’ lies in the hands of those working in the banking sector. According to the Irish Banking Federation, around 90,000 people are employed across the sector in Ireland. 

The importance of the sector to the Irish economy has been evidenced in recent years by the banking crisis. To assist with moving out of the economic crisis, the Government provided a major injection of capital to Irish banks in order to keep them afloat and to allow them to start lending to business again, and NAMA was set up with the aim of getting the banks functioning successfully again. The recovery process is likely to last a few years, but the banking sector will be one of the first to reap the rewards of such a recovery with employment becoming increasingly available.

Banking can be divided into three areas: Retail banking, which provides services to individual and smaller businesses; Corporate banking, which provides banking services to large organisations; Investment banking, where customers money is put to use to make greater profit by investing in foreign exchange, bonds, gilts and on the stock market. 

Retail Banks and Building Societies deal with the every day financial transactions of the public. They provide us with services such as saving and loan accounts, investment accounts, mortgages, foreign exchange and credit card facilities.

Corporate banks provide financial services (advice, lending, clearing, investing deposits and specialist products) for business clients with high turnovers (e.g. in excess of £25 million sterling), such as financial institutions, major companies, and Irish commercial state companies. The leading banks all have a corporate banking division.

Getting into Banking

Many young people enter this area of employment after graduating in business, accountancy, economics and financial studies. Others gain employment on leaving school and may decide at a later stage to arm themselves with further qualifications.

Bank cashiers and other clerical workers require a Leaving Certificate level of education. Most banks seek people who have good communication skills, enjoy public contact and feel comfortable handling large amounts of cash.

Each bank is overseen by a Bank Manager. He or she has an assistant manager to help with the managerial tasks. Sales representatives and those in executive and management positions usually need a degree in a business or finance related area. 

Irish banks have their own professional banking exams which you must be prepared to undertake if you wish to progress through the ranks. The amount of experience and the level of responsibility involved in the particular job influence associated salary levels.

E-Commerce

E-commerce is the buying and selling of products and services by businesses or consumers over the internet.  An example is the buying and selling of books on Amazon.com or various products on eBay. E-commerce products and services are the methods used by banks and banking organisations to carry out their transactions without necessarily coming into physical contact with their clients. These services include Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), Electronic Fund Transfer (ETF), mobile banking, online banking, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and telecommunication services. 

Disruptive Business

Consumers are shifting from traditional in-branch banking to online banking for many services. Most people now use a smart phone, a laptop or a tablet and this is changing the way banks do business. It is also bringing new alternatives into the market. For example, PayPal provides a service allowing business or individuals to send and receive payments online.

More new ways of conducting financial transactions have emerged in recent years, alongside advances in technology. These Disruptive businesses are providing online services that are changing the traditional face of banking. Disruptive businesses such as Realex Fire/Realex Payments, supply users with an online current account that allows them to pay friends and businesses in real time. Another online service, Linked Finance, is in the business of lending money to projects.

Investment Banking and Funds

Banks must make good use of the profit they make from their customers. All of the larger Banks in Ireland have their own Investment Banks. They also put their customer's money to use in order to make greater profit. This is done by investing in foreign exchange, bonds, gilts and on the stock market. 

The people who operate this end of the Banking business are known as Traders or Dealers

A Dealers job is to buy commodity at one price and sell at a higher price. A typical transaction may involve buying 800,000 in US dollars in the morning and offloading it for another currency at a better rate later that day. 

Investment Managers usually work for either large Investment Banks or for medium-to-large businesses. Their main function is to help their company find money to operate and grow the business, make acquisitions, plan for its financial future and manage any cash on hand.

You might work for a large multinational company or a smaller player with high growth prospects. Responsibility can come fast and your problem-solving skills will be put to work quickly in corporate finance. A degree in Finance or Business would be the minimum expected qualification for these positions.

Working as a Fund Manager for a Life Assurance Company is another good example of a career in Investment and Financial Management. The fund (money) usually comes from different sources and is then invested and managed by the Fund Manager and his team of financial investment specialists for the benefit of those who contributed to it. The individuals working in fund management i.e. mutual pensions, trust funds or hedge funds must have excellent educational and professional experience as well as financial management.



There are around 12,500 people employed in the funds industry in Ireland according to the Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA) and almost all of the world's major fund service providers have a presence here. 

Getting into Investment Banking and Funds

Many people go into this area having completed a degree in Business Studies or accountancy. Within the funds industry there is such a wide range of services provided and products available that the roles and responsibilities of the people working in the industry and the opportunities available are equally wide and varied, as are the CVs of the people who currently work in the industry.

Careers in the Funds Industry can be directly related to the servicing of investment funds (e.g. shareholder services, fund valuations, custody, fund accounting, client relationship management, compliance, taxation, risk management). There are also many other careers in business support areas such as information technology, human resources, marketing, business development and management accounting.

Financial Regulation

The Central Bank of Ireland is responsible for both central banking and financial regulation. The role of the Financial Regulator is to oversee the activities of:

  • Credit institutions, investment intermediaries, stockbrokers, financial exchanges, collective investment schemes, funds, investor compensation and related consumer issues
  • Life insurance, general insurance and related consumer issues
  • Credit unions
  • Moneylenders, mortgage and credit intermediaries, the monitoring of customer charges by credit institutions and related consumer issues

The Central Bank monitors and enforces the consumer protection, conduct of business and prudential requirements of all financial institutions operating in Ireland. It also sets the minimum competency requirements for firms.

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Nursing & Midwifery header image

Nursing covers a range of general and specialist areas including: General Nurse; Public Health Nurse; Midwife; Children's Nurse; Psychiatric Nurse;  Practice Nurse; Theatre Nurse; Nurse Manager; Agency Nurse, Palliative Care Nurse . New roles for nurses are emerging all the time such as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Prescriber.  

There are opportunities for Nurses to work all over the world, and in wide variety of settings, as well as in hospitals. They may find careers in areas as diverse as: The World Health Organisation; a University Campus; the Occupational Health in industry; with voluntary agencies such as Concern or Goal; in the area of Health Promotion, or as Medical Representatives. 
 

General Nursing

 

General Nursing offers a wide variety of career path options. A General Nurse works as part of a multidisciplinary team towards promoting and maintaining the health of individuals, families and communities, caring for those who develop health problems and supporting them to live their lives to the maximum potential. General Nursing typically involves looking after sick people in traditional settings such as hospitals. However, it also equips you to work in other settings such as the community, nursing homes, hospice care, the army, universities etc.
Click image for 2015 Nursing Training Information

General Nursing degree courses are offered by Universities and Colleges throughout Ireland. On completion, you graduate with an honours Bachelor of Science degree in General Nursing, and can apply to register as a General Nurse to An Bord Altranais, the profession’s regulatory body. You are then ready to start work as a qualified General Nurse in a variety of clinical settings. Newly qualified nurses can currently expect a starting salary of about €24,418.

Career progression in Nursing depends on a mixture of work experience and further study. For example, further post-registration programme options include: Children's Nursing; Nurse Tutor; Public Health Nursing; and Nurse Prescriber.

Post-graduate Diplomas and Masters Qualifications will provide further career opportunities such as: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Emergency Nursing, and Intensive Care Nursing. 

A General Nursing qualification can also lead to careers in such areas as Health Service Management or Medical Research. It worth noting that a general nursing qualification is recognised in many other countries, and so is also a passport to opportunities to travel and work abroad.

Are you suited to a career in Nursing or Midwifery? 
A new on-line self-assessment questionnaire for prospective nursing and midwifery candidates is available from the Public Appointments Service (PAS). This questionnaire will assist both school leavers and mature candidates in their personal understanding of the role of the nurse and midwife and their suitability to undertake the education programme - See also Online Resources.

Midwifery

Midwives work in public and private healthcare settings, and in community healthcare settings, such as Primary Healthcare Teams.

To qualify as a midwife requires successful completion of a 4-year Bachelor's Degree in Midwifery, which is offered in 6 University centres around the country, followed by registration as a midwife with An Bord Altranais. Midwives then typically spend their first year gaining practical experience in either a public or a private healthcare setting.

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Tourism header image

Tourism remains Ireland's biggest indigenous industry and career opportunities exist in the Tourism Sector, both in Ireland and overseas, for young people at all levels from office administration roles to junior and senior management posts - in a diverse range of tourism related organisations:
  • Tourism offices
  • Tour Guides
  • Travel Agents
  • Reservation Centres
  • Airlines
  • Leisure Centres
  • Spas
  • Museums
  • Cultural attractions
  • Heritage Centres
  • Tourist shops

Fáilte Ireland

As well as being the National Tourism Development Authority in Ireland, Fáilte Ireland also has responsibility to encourage, promote and support the recruitmenttraining and education of people for the tourism industry. 

Fáilte Ireland works in partnership with Tourism Ireland (who promote Ireland as a holiday destination to overseas markets) and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (responsible for tourism development and marketing in Northern Ireland). They lead an extensive domestic holiday campaign via www.discoverIreland.ie, which features comprehensive information and listings for Irish accommodation, activities, events, tourist attractions and Irish holiday special offers.  Fáilte Ireland priorities for 2014 include:

  • New initiatives such as ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ and  ‘Dublin Plus’, and also a new proposition for the east and south of the country
  • Business tourism and major events
  • Home holidays
  • The Gathering legacy
  • Festivals and events
  • Sales, digital and experience development.

[Check out the 'Ask the Experts' panel on this page for an overview of the sector from Fáilte Ireland]

Given the potential for interesting and rewarding careers in these sectors, many young people are looking for suitable courses that will help prepare them for careers at different levels. Because of the competitive nature of these careers, staff with industry related qualifications tend to get the better jobs. 

The Irish higher education system has a well developed range of courses, at all levels from PLCs (Post Leaving Cert) to Level 7 & Level 8 Degrees. When looking at courses in hospitality and tourism, there can seem to be a bewildering variety of course titles covering the main employment areas of travel, tourism, hotels and restaurants. 

Typical titles include:

  • Tourism Management
  • Tourism Marketing
  • Travel and Tourism

There are also joint degrees where it is possible to study combinations of subjects, such as Tourism and Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, Hospitality and Marketing.

Most undergraduate courses will include a period of work experience as part of the course, varying in length from 6 months to one year. This work experience is seen to be a central part of courses, where the student obtains the opportunity to practice what they have learned in college or university. Employers also see great value in this work experience when considering the employment of graduates.

Given the international nature of these industries, another valuable part of any course is the study of languages. Most courses in hospitality and tourism provide access to language courses, either as core components or as options.
 
In addition to the above courses, there are also more specialised courses in Tourism covering areas such as Cultural Tourism, Tourism Marketing, Tourism Planning, Museum Management, Heritage Management, Cultural Tourism and Sustainable Tourism: these are suitable for people who have an interest in employment in a specific sector of the industry.

Failte Ireland also provide skills training and work based training throughout Ireland for those who want to enter the sector more immediately, or want to complete their training whilst employed.

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