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 Darryl Day from Intel to give some advice for people considering this job:


Darryl Day

IQ Engineer


Read more

  Darryl Day
Go for it! Intel is a fantastic company to work for.

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Bronwyn Conroy Beauty School
The Bronwyn Conroy International Beauty School continues to lead the way in innovative and exclusive Beauty, Fitness and Health Training Courses. Train with us and receive guaranteed career opportunities.
The Fitness Institute
The Fitness Institute is an expert provider of educational training courses for the fitness industry and beyond. We conduct intensive, interactive classroom-based learning for all of our students in an open environment.
At a Glance... header image

Advertising header image

Advertising is a particular form of communication - it is described as a combination of art, science, business and show business, all rolled into one. The sector employs some of the brightest and most creative artists, producers, writers, economists, researchers and business people available.

Most people like to think that they 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.

Justsome 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.

Getting into Advertising

Breaking into the advertising business is not easy. Most jobs in the sector require a degree-level qualification. Internships and related work experience are valuable. Retail sales experience is also great preparation.
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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
Tillage crop production is about the provision of feedstuffs to the livestock sector and valuable raw materials to industries such as malting, milling, sugar, breakfast cereal and distilling. 

The crop 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.
Photo: Teagasc Crop student ploughing at Kildalton Agriculture and Horticulture College

Food Wise 2025
, is the lastest strategy report for the agriculture sector. Over the next decade there will be growth opportunities for the tillage sector in areas such as increasing demand barley and malt for distilling due to the planned expansion by Malsters and increased demand for oats due to their health and nutritional benefits.

Outside of the cereals sector, growth opportunities include increased support for protein crops as part of EU recognition of the need to develop native protein sources, increasing interest in the use of oilseed rape oil as a food ingredient for cooking and salads including potential for exports of the processed oil. In the case of sugar beet, the industry is to explore whether the likely development of the sugar and ethanol markets would justify farmer and industry investment.  

[See also AgriFood sector below].

Dairy Farming
Dairy is a huge industry in Ireland. Irish dairy production is expected to grow by 50% by 2020, from 5.5bn to 7.5bn litres.

Bord Bia Infographic
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."

"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.


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. 


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.

Further Education Options

QQI Level 5 (Certificate) and Level 6 (Advanced Certificate) major award programmes in agricultural, horticulture, forestry and equine studies are available with Teagasc.

The Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management (Level 7) programme can also be completed with Teagasc, as a progression from the Level 6 Advanced Certificate.

There has been a large increase in the number of applications for Teagasc courses in recent years, driven by a new found confidence in farming and food production. The abolition of the milk quota in April 2015 and the roll out of Food Harvest 2020 will further boost confidence in the sector.

New entrants to commercial farming - advice is to complete a specialised QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture specialising in dairy herd management, drystock management or crops/mechanisation at agricultural colleges.

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.

Further Education Options
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 Certificate in Equine Breeding may also be offered.
Check out the course listings on theis page.

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.

Photo: Weei Man - Eden Project Cornwall, D.H.
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

Building and Construction has a dual role the economy:

  • 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)
  • It provides and maintains the physical infrastructures and buildings on which other industry sectors and society depends. 

Infographic: Latest Construction Employment Figures - CIF

The construction sector is made up of over 40,500 enterprises, significantly less that in the boom time years. However, the overall company size profile remains roughly the same. The majority (96.7%) of construction companies are small businesses, employing less than 10 people.

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

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

Careers in construction can be divided into four main areas:

  • Construction Craft Workers (Operatives, Labourers)
  • Trade Craftspeople (Four year apprenticeships)
  • Engineers and 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. In order to work in any capacity on a building site you must have a Safe Pass Certificate.

The slow down in the sector resulted in little employment for general operatives in this area and also made it very difficult to get apprenticeships. However, this situation is now improving and there are many opportunities for apprenticeship now becoming available.

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 with SOLAS (formerly FÁS).

Apprenticeship is the recognised means by which people are trained to become craftspeople in Ireland. Explore our comprehensive area on Apprenticeship here.

Engineers & Surveyors

The construction sector employs many different engineering and surveyor roles. Civil, structural, building services, environmental and geotechnical engineering roles are required, as well as specialist areas, such as acoustics engineers. Civil engineers evaluate, research and manage  major civil engineering schemes, while building surveyors examine properties and advise on any defects.

Engineering Careers - Download the 2015 Engineering Sector Overview from
Useful Career Sheets from STEPS to Engineering [pdf files]
Building Services
Civil Engineering
Engineering Life
Building Services Engineering
Civil Engineering
Engineering Life

The main employers of engineers are consultants, who advise clients, develop designs and oversee projects, and contractors, who carry out building work. Engineers are also recruited by developers and by large clients, such as retailers and local authorities.

What on earth in surveying? Video explaining what working in land, property and surveying is all about.


Surveyors are highly trained and experienced professionals that are employed throughout the construction, land and property sectors. They work across all aspects of the built and natural environment for a variety of employers, including auctioneers, valuers, developers, construction firms, facilities management, as well as county councils and state agencies. They generally specialise in one of the following areas:


  • Quantity Surveyor – advises on the costs of developing all types of buildings and infrastructure.
  • Building Surveyor – carries out building surveys and provides management and design consultancy services.


  • Geomatic Surveyor – maps the built and natural environment to provide accurate spatial data which facilitates planning, development and conservation. Geomatics is currently one of the most in-demand technical skills in the world!
  • Mineral Surveyor – provides expertise in the full life cycle of mineral development.


  • Residential Agency Surveyor – provides professional expertise in the valuation, management, letting and sale of residential property.
  • Commercial Agency Surveyor - provides professional expertise in the valuation, management, letting and sale of commercial property.

Video: Geomatic Surveying ~ SCSI

"Geomatics is currently one of the most in-demand technical skills in the world!"

For more information of types of surveyors click here.

While the property sector has contracted in recent years, it is anticipated that there will be greater opportunities for graduates. Many large property agencies have graduate programmes which provide excellent training in all aspects of property – from commercial (offices, retail, industrial), residential sales and lettings, professional services and property management.

In the future, graduates will enter a far more regulated property and construction sector and high standards of education and qualifications will be a prerequisite for employers and clients in the public and private sectors. Professional membership of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland is a sign of high standards of professionalism in the construction, land and property sectors. 

Some of the many college courses available include an industrial placement year, when students can apply their learning in the workplace, gain practical experience and forge industry links. Colleges include DIT Bolton Street and the Institutes of Technology.


Architects are the professionals in the sector who plan and develop designs for construction projects. Designing a building involves many steps:
  • Visiting and surveying the site;
  • Discussing with the clients what kind of building they want;
  • Developing a preliminary design for the building and refining it to make sure that it meets the clients' needs and budget and complies with the regulations;
  • Applying for planning permission;
  • Preparing detailed drawings and specifications;
  • Obtaining quotes from builders;
  • Administering the contract between the client and the builder
  • Checking that the building is being constructed in accordance with the drawings;
  • Making sure that payments to the builder are in order.

Once qualified, the variety of work open to you as a professional architect is wide ranging. You can work for yourself, or as part of a team in a small or large private practice. The architectural section of Government Departments, Local Authorities, Semi-State or commercial organisations also employ architects. You may wish to specialise in certain types of building, or concentrate a particular aspect of the job, such as design, technology, architectural conservation or project management, depending on your own interests, abilities and opportunities. Some architects choose academic careers in teaching and research.

[See also The Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI) here for detailed information on becoming an architect or an architectural technologist in Ireland.]

Construction Management

Another key role is the much sought after construction manager who plans and manages the building operations. The construction of any major building project is a feat of co-ordination and involves managing a range of people with specialist skills. Many construction managers progress through the ranks from a starting point as an apprentice, with further education and training along the way.

In general, construction professionals have spent a number of years in third level education and must meet the specific requirements of their particular professional body.


Many people work as Technicians alongside the professionals in the building and construction sector. Technicians carry out duties under the supervision of their respective professionals. Job roles include Building Technician, CAD Technician, Structural Design Technician and Construction Technician among others. Technicians are likely to have taken a course in 3rd Level (Level 6 or 7) in one of the IT Colleges around the country.

Town Planning

Planners are involved in making long and short-term decisions about the management and development of cities, town, villages and the countryside. Most Town Planners work in the public service with local authorities but many have consultancy roles within the architecture and construction areas.

Planning is a broad area of work that requires many different skills. Some planners specialise in a particular area of work. Key planning activities include:

  • Researching and designing planning policies to guide development
  • Developing creative and original planning solutions to satisfy all parties
  • Consulting with stakeholders and other interested parties and negotiating with developers and other professionals, such as surveyors and architects
  • Assessing planning applications and enforcing and monitoring outcomes as necessary
  • Researching and analysing data to help inform strategic developments
  • Designing layouts and drafting design statements
  • Using information technology systems such as CAD (computer-aided design) or GIS (geographical information systems)
  • Attending and presenting at planning boards and appeals and at public inquiries
  • Keeping up to date with legislation associated with land use
  • Promoting environmental education and awareness
  • Writing reports, often of a complex nature, which make recommendations or explain detailed regulations

DIT runs a diploma in Planning and Environmental Management which trains technicians in urban and rural planning.

Getting into the sector

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.

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

Institutions that support Level 8 Construction Courses are : Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Limerick IT, university of Limerick, Waterford IT, Letterkenny IT, Dundalk IT, Athlone IT, NUI Galway, Carlow IT and IT Sligo.

Institutions that support Levels 6 and 7 Construction Courses are: Cork IT, IT Tralee, Limerick IT, Carlow IT, DIT, Dundalk IT, Athlone IT, Waterford IT and IT Sligo.

Institutes of Technology that support construction/building apprenticeships include: Dublin Institute of Technology, Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology.

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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); 


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.

Useful Career Sheets from STEPS to Engineering [pdf files]
The Little Book of Irish Science  - 100 things you should know ...

From Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)
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Civil & Public Service header image

The Civil and Public Service is made up of the various departments and offices which provide services for and on behalf of the Government.

There is a great range of opportunities in the Public Service. Clerical, administrative, management, technical and specialist staff all have significant roles to play.

You could have the opportunity to contribute to, and be actively involved in, projects that have a real impact on varying aspects of Irish society and culture. From technological advancements, including the inventive use of social media or apps, right through to the cutting edge developments taking place across sectors including finance, healthcare, education and agriculture, the Public Service is a broad and fertile arena for creativity and innovation.

Jobs are available at different levels in the Civil Service and titles include: Clerical Officer (CO); Executive Officer (EO); Administrative Officer (AO)/Third Secretary; Assistant Principal (AP); Principal Officer (PO), Assistant Secretary and Secretary General.

The following chart gives a good indication of the typical grade structures for the Civil Service:

Information on specific grades and roles will be available at the time of specific campaigns to fill roles.

Professional and Technical positions

There is also a wide range of professional and technical positions in the Civil Service, the wider Public Service and Local Authorities, including:
  • Accountancy/Audit
  • Agricultural Science
  • Architecture
  • Barrister
  • Chemistry and Applied Science
  • Engineering
  • Inspector
  • Law Clerk
  • Marine Biologist
  • Planner
  • Psychologist
  • Scientist
  • Solicitor
  • Veterinary Surgeon
The graduate focused website offers a dedicated information portal for graduates seeking information about career opportunities in the Public Service.

Given the widely diverse and influential nature of the Public Service, it holds the promise of varied, dynamic and exciting work opportunities for graduates of diverse expertise, interests and talents.

What competencies does the Public Appointments Service look for?

To explore the particular competency model for each job role click image.


Jobs across the Civil and Public Service are advertised on, with many also advertised via on Facebook and @publicjobsie on Twitter.

Once you have registered with you can also set up job alerts to inform you of new vacancies which are tailored to your preferred interests.

At times, the Public Appointments Service may also look for ‘Generalists’ where campaigns are open to candidates coming from any discipline or degree background. The competencies required for these roles can always be found in the information booklet for each given campaign at


For information on civil service salary scales, go to the website of the Department of Finance at

[See 'Ask the Experts' 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.

the following are just some of the many occupations 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 Life
Computer and Software Engineering

See also Sample Occupations in the menu on this page.
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Clerical Work header image

There are more clerical and administrative jobs than any other job roles across the spectrum of all occupations. About 90 per cent of clerical and administrative jobs are in industries that provide services.

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 nature of the work involved can vary greatly depending on factors such as the type of the business, the size of the organisation, and whether the organisation is a private company or the public service.

The job roles cover a wide range of duties depending on the needs of the particular business or organisation. Some workplaces need employees who have detailed knowledge and need minimal supervision. Other companies will look for employees with a basic knowledge of functions who will be closely monitored by supervisors. 

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 occupations 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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Pre-Primary Education header image

Unlike many other European countries, Ireland does not have a tradition of pre-school education. Until very recently, there was no public funding available for early childhood education except for a very small number of specific pre-primary centres for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, including children of the travelling community.

The compulsory school age in Ireland is 6 years, and pre-school children are “children under 6 years of age, who are not attending a national school or equivalent”. However, children from the age of 4 can be enrolled in infant classes in primary schools. Nearly half of 4-year-olds and virtually all 5-year-olds attend primary school.

With the exception of the above, early childhood education and care services in Ireland are delivered outside the formal education system, by a diverse range of private, community and voluntary interests and are described variously as crèches, nurseries, pre-schools, naíonraí (Irish language pre-schools), playgroups and daycare services. All forms of pre-primary education are optional.

A free Pre-School Year was introduced in 2010 which is administered by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Under this initiative, all children are entitled to a free pre-school year of appropriate programme-based activities in the year prior to starting primary school. Approximately 63,000 or 94% of eligible children enrolled in pre-school services in the first year of the ECCE scheme. From 2016, every child in Ireland was able to start pre-school at age three and remain in pre-school until they start primary school.

Working in pre school 

There has been a steady growth in the number employed in pre-school services, and the sector is slowly becoming more organised. Regulation of services is the responsibility of the HSE, whilst Pre-school education policy is the remit of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Stricter guidelines are in place for those wishing to provide pre-school education facilities.


Although particular qualifications have not in the past been essential for working with pre-school children, it is becoming more the norm to have a recognised qualification.

Employers generally look for a minimum of QQI Level 5 or equivalent, relevant to the specific job role and responsibilities. 

Since September 2015*, childcare staff at registered services participating in the ECCE scheme must meet the minimum qualification requirements:
  • Pre-school leaders must hold a Level 6 qualification;
  • Pre-school assistants must hold a Level 5 qualification.

Search for relevant courses here 

*Existing services participating in the ECCE Programme prior to 2015 were provided with a 12 month postponement until 2016 for this requirement, subject to evidence that relevant staff are enrolled and engaged in training.
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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

Some 4 million people are employed in the fashion industry worldwide which includes far more than glossy magazines and fashion shows: careers in fashion design, sourcing materials, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, retailing, advertising, communications, publishing and consulting - are just some of what this industry sector is all about.

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.


‘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 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 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 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 equips you to work in other settings such as the community, nursing homes, hospice care, the army, universities etc.
Click image for 2017 entry details to Pre Registration Honours Nursing Degree Programmes.

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.


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.


Nursing is a rewarding job and a popular career choice - one that will always be needed. Nurses are hugely in demand at the moment, both in Ireland and abroad, however, getting into nursing continues to be competitive for school leavers. 


The main entry route to nursing is based on CAO points. 

To study General Nursing in Ireland, the points requirement in 2016 ranged from 400 points (at Dundalk IT) to 460 points (at University of Limerick).

In Dublin City University for example, 450 points were required for General Nursing DC215, up 20 points on the previous year. 450 points equates to at least a H4 (Formerly C1 grade) in five subjects taken at Higher level in the Leaving Certificate, plus one higher grade. 

With first preferences for Nursing up significantly again this year, Points are set to increase for 2016/17 college places, making already competitive course entry even more so for students. So what other options are there?

FET /QQI Route

A popular alternative route to nursing is through further education. Following the Leaving Cert, students can undertake a one-year FET /QQI Level 5 Certificate in Nursing or Pre Nursing Studies. Those who achieve a minimum of five distinctions are entitled to apply for places reserved for FET/QQI graduates on several third-level nursing degree courses.

Be aware though, competition is still tough when taking this route and FET Applicants are not guaranteed a place, even with all distinctions in their course modules. You can check the CAO quota of places reserved for QQI FET/FETAC applicants on Nursing courses here.


A Mature Applicant is an applicant who is 23 years of age or over by 1 January in the year of entry and who wishes to be considered for a place on grounds of mature years and not on examination results.

All mature applicants must sit an assessment test to be considered for a place on a nursing or midwifery programme.

A mature application cannot be considered unless:

  • it has been included among an applicant’s original course choices by 1 February in the year of application
  • it has been added to the existing application not later than the final date for correction of errors or omissions. Check with the CAO.
Mature applicants need only apply once and can be considered as mature and on QQI FET and/or Leaving Certificate.

Note: For Applications in 2017, both standard and mature applicants will use the same CAO course codes.

Applying for the Assessment Test [Mature Applicants Only]

Having applied through the CAO by 5.15pm on 1 February 2017, Mature Applicants must also register and apply to sit an assessment test, which is conducted by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) on behalf of NMBI.

Each mature applicant must register and apply between 2 February and 22 February 2017.

There are THREE important steps:

1. Apply to CAO:  you will need your CAO number, a valid e-mail address and your Personal Public Service (PPS) number (if you have one) for step 2 of the process.

2. Register with PAS: Log-on to the PAS website If you have not previously registered and you are a New User you must ‘Register’ before applying. Please make a note of your User Name and Password as you will need it for all steps involved in the assessment test.

3. Apply to PAS for Assessment Test: Once you have registered you must then access the application form, complete and submit it. The application form will only be available on between 2 February and 22 February 2017, under the job category ‘Medical’, sub category ‘Nurse/Nurse Management’.

Applicants will receive an immediate email confirming that their application has been successfully submitted. This message should be retained. If the confirmation email is not received within two days please contact General Service Recruitment in the PAS at (01) 858 7730 immediately.

Please do not confuse Registering with Applying. Failure to register and apply will lead to disqualification of your application. Please note that once you have applied, you are advised to check your Message Board (located within your personal profile) for communications from PAS.

Please note: your application will be invalid if you do not complete all three steps. First offers of places to mature applicants will be made in early July. Further offers may be made in subsequent CAO offer rounds.

See also: Nursing / Midwifery a career for you [above].

According to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland:

Specific Level 5 and some Level 6 further education and training certificates awarded by QQI (which replaced FETAC, HETAC & NQAI) may be considered as an entry route for standard code applicants to nursing/midwifery. These are:

In all cases, applicants must have achieved distinctions in five components including:

  • Anatomy and Physiology (5N0749 / D20001)
  • Nursing Theory and Practice (5N4325)
  • Human Growth and Development (5N1279) or Biology (5N2746)

You should be aware that while you may meet the eligibility requirements, there is no guarantee that you will be offered a place. Due to a very small number of places available, a random selection system is operated by the CAO.  See NMBI for more 

Leaving Cert Applied 

Students with LCA cannot go directly to nursing through the CAO system, but may be eligible to apply for nursing as a mature student with certain qualifications or relevant experience. You may be able to take the FET route, but will be required to have Maths. It is vital to check with individual course providers.


Another alternative is to travel and enrol in a Nursing degree programme in the UK. There is a good supply of nursing places in UK universities for Irish students with Pre-nursing FET awards. In the region of 500 students take up this option annually.

Two UK entry routes are available to students from Ireland:

  • Go straight to university in the UK from secondary school, using the UCAS points you acheive based on your Leaving Cert grades (This equates to at least a C1 grade in six subjects taken at Higher level in the Leaving Certificate (Each subject is similar to an AS-Level)
  • Use your FET qualification results - QQI Level 5 in Nursing Studies in Ireland, is equivalent to UK NVQ Level 3 (Note: Some UK colleges will now accept FET qualifications but, only where the FET Nursing Studies programme has a Maths component).

It is important to note that each UK university has different entry requirements so applicants should check the minimum requirements for the particular universities they wish to apply for. 

University of Bradford - Nursing Entry requirements for 2016 & 2017:

Please note - changes for 2017 entry!

A Pass in the QQI Level 5 Nursing Studies programme with 30 credits at Distinction and the remaining 90 credits at Merit or above. (Note: University of Bradford no longer accept FETAC Level 5 Maths)

Applicants must also have GCSE English Language, Maths and Biology/Science Grade C (now H4) or above, or the equivalent from the Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level).

Anatomy and Physiology from the FETAC programme can be used for GCSE Biology/Science requirements, so long as Merit is achieved.

300 UCAS tariff points to include 2 A levels (or equivalent) - So applicants would need to get at least two Irish highers at C2 or above (now H4) and the rest of the UCAS points can be made up of any combination of qualifications on the tariff PLUS GCSE English Language, Maths and Biology/Science grade C or above (Now H4) or the equivalent from the Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary).

See: Detailed Entry Requirements here

NOTE: Some university Nursing Courses in the UK are BN (Bachelor of Nursing) e.g.Bachelor of Nursing, Southampton, whilst some are BSc in Nursing (Bachelor of Science). (The diploma in Nursing is discontinued since 2013).

Application for Nursing in the UK is via UCAS and should be made by 15th January each year. It is also worth noting that some UK Universities have 2 - 3 intakes per year for Nursing in September, January and March.

NOTE: Not all UK colleges accept FET/QQI awards - It is advisable to e-mail the admissions office of the university you wish to apply to and check if they will accept a particular FET /QQI award. Include a link to the QQI award you are pursuing and the modules it covers.

Numeracy, Literacy  and Equivalence Tests for Nursing

Some FE colleges in Ireland have established links to UK universities. The university tutors travel from the UK to the college to interview people (you typically have to do a Numeracy and Literacy test as part of this process). They will get back to you swiftly to confirm you have a conditional offer. After you receive your results, you’ll get another confirmation if you have an unconditional offer.

London Southbank came to Dublin last year to conduct interviews and held Health per-Registration Numeracy & Literacy tests in advance of their interviews. Only those candidates who passed the tests were interviewed - only 40 passed out of 100 candidates who sat the tests!  

If you are considering this route to Nursing, it is advisable A). to check whether or not Numeracy and Literacy testing is used as part of the selection process for the college that interests you and B). If it is, get some practice in! It is possible to find practice tests and information and improve your scores.

The University of Bradford is not currently requesting Irish students to sit Numeracy and Literacy Tests. University of Salford and Edgehill both require you to take Numeracy and Literacy tests. Their websites have a link to practice /equivalency tests [See Edgehill].

See also: Passing the Literacy Skills Test (Yellow book), Passing the Numeracy Skills Test (Blue book) available from Amazon UK.

Student Nurse Abi Taiwo found that doing FET / QQI pre-Nursing gave her a great foundation for the UK university Nursing course that she was accepted for, as she already had started Nursing Studies. The first year covered similar topics to those she’d already experienced in her FET course, although in more depth.

Details of UK universities offering nursing degrees to Irish students are available here

Maths and English - For candidates planning to use the FET /QQI access route to Nursing in the UK, the Maths element of FET /QQI qualifications can be an issue. Students are required to have at least one of the following to apply to study nursing in the UK:

  • A Grade C or above (now H4) in Leaving Certificate level Maths OR
  • A FET /QQI Pre-nursing qualification that has a Maths module


What financial supports are currently available to Nursing Students from Ireland studying in the UK?

  • Tuition fees are covered for students within the EU by the NMC (Nursing & Midwifery Council).
  • Irish students can still apply for a SUSI maintenance grant, whic is means-tested – more here
  • The level of funding granted is less than for other courses, as you are not paying tuition fees

Currently, no fees apply for Nursing in England. However, it looks likely that 2016 will be the last year where fees for nursing in the UK are free as this is set to change in 2017. A cost of £9,000 approx will apply. But, a student loan system applies [See below].

Scotland is still free - course fees are covered by the SAAS.

In Wales - fees apply - approximately £3,800 (University of Glyndwr don't offer a degree in Nursing, but have Health related courses) 

It’s worth noting that students from Ireland can study in Scotland for free, as course fees are covered by the SAAS – more here

Undergraduate Student Loan System in the UK

The EU Student Fee loan system is now in place in the UK. The loan is not repayable until you are in Full-time employment and earning a salary above St£21k /27k Euro. Once you leave university, you only repay when you are earning above £1,750 a month (equivalent to £21,000 a year) and then it's fixed at 9% of everything you earn above that. Earnings mean any money from employment or self employment and in some cases earnings from investment and savings. Loan repayments can be as low as 6.50 per week – 0.01% interest for a max of 30 years. [More]

It is worth noting that Irish students can additionally avail of the SUSI maintenance grant, as well as the student loan.

Q. Is the NHS bursary funding in England available to Irish students

No - The NHS bursary funding in England is no longer available to Irish students, due to the residency requirement. The NHS bursary is only available to students who have been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years, up to the start of the academic year. It is likely that all bursaries will be cut from 2017 and all nursing students will have to apply for a student loan instead. 

See also How much will it cost?


Application for Nursing in the UK is via UCAS and should be made by 15th January each year. Useful links to help with finding Undergraduate Nursing Programmes at UK Universities are  available here.

UCAS Application for 2016 entry closed on January 15th.

Recruitment in Ireland for UK Nursing Programmes

Some UK nursing programmes come to Ireland to recruit:

  • The NHS are regularly recruiting in Ireland and attend nursing recruitment fairs etc.
  • YourWorld Healthcare are a specialist healthcare recruitment agency and will be hosting roadshows in Ireland throughout the year. Check the website for more info - Dublin office YourWorld Healthcare
  • Kings College Hospital London also recruit 2 to 3 times a year in Ireland. They conduct the interviews usually in Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick


The Nursing Board (Ireland) FAQs 

I was not successful in getting onto a pre-Registration Nursing/Midwifery programme through the CAO. Can I go to the United Kingdom and study nursing/midwifery there?

Generally speaking courses leading to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) UK as a general nurse or midwife will meet the minimum EU requirements for direct registration, but you are strongly advised to double check this with the NMC.

If you complete an education programme in General Nursing or Midwifery in a European Union member state you may be entitled to direct registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) if the programme meets the minimum requirements stipulated in European Union (EU) legislation, namely EU Directive 2005/36. The best source to check if an education programme in the United Kingdom meets these requirements is the NMC, the equivalent body to NMBI in the United Kingdom. NMC website 

You will find further information for applicants who have completed a nurse education programme in an EU country who wish to apply to register with NMBI here website 


  • NHS salary starting point is £21,000 (€27k)
  • Salary rates in ireland start at 27K with overtime 33K
  • Ireland and England agency pay rates are similar at present, somewhere around the £30-£40 an hour

Students who wish to explore nursing in the UK in more detail can find more information here 

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