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 Kevin Keary from EU Careers to give some advice for people considering this job:


Kevin Keary

Parliamentary Assistant

EU Careers

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  Kevin Keary
Be proactive and look for the areas that interest you whether it’s the Environment or Human Rights and find MEP’s or interest groups that specialise in those interests and take the initiative to send them your CV.

Having a European language would help you considerably in this career. Irish should also not be ruled out as an option as this is considered as a second language.

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
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Tourism & Hospitality

Tourism and Hospitality are major players in Ireland's efforts to move beyond what has been a difficult economic situation. However, recovery is underway and certain areas are already showing signs of skills shortages. Earlier this year, the Government launched a 10-year strategy to create 50,000 new jobs in the tourism industry by 2025, bringing the total number working in the tourism industry in Ireland to 250,000. 

The Hospitality sector covers a major part of the Tourism Industry - accommodation, as well as food and beverages services which include restaurants, bars, canteens and all kinds of catering services.

The wide-ranging potential for interesting and rewarding careers in these areas means that many young people are looking for suitable courses that will help prepare them for careers at different levels. The competitive nature of hospitality careers means that entrants with industry-related qualifications tend to get the better jobs on offer.

The range of courses available spans all levels from Further Education (FET/PLC) courses at Level 4-5 through to Level 6 and 7 courses with both FE Colleges and the Institutes of Technology and Level 8 Degree programmes in Hospitality Management. New apprenticeship training opportunities are also available to address the ongoing demand for Chefs (Commis Chef; Sous Chef; Chef de Partie; Executive Chef).

Joint degrees make it possible to study combinations of subjects, such as Tourism and Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, Hospitality and Marketing. The international nature of the industry means that the study of languages is a valuable part of any course. Most courses in hospitality and tourism include language courses, either as core components or as options.

Tourism header image

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

Fáilte Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

Typical titles include:

  • Tourism Management
  • Tourism Marketing
  • Travel and Tourism

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

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

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

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

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Hospitality header image

There are over 16,000 enterprises in the Accommodation and Food Services (AFS) area of the Hospitality sector, a category which includes hotels, restaurants, bars, canteens and catering. Estimated employment in the hospitality sector averaged 157,990 in 2014.  Waiters and Waitreses account for over 27,000 of this number, with almost 24,000 Chefs and over 23,000 Kitchen and catering assistants.

At the core of this vitally important industry is the Hotel Sector which employs approximately 50,000 people in 850 hotels around the country. Expansion in hotel capacity in recent years has resulted in many hotels losing money in the downturn years and the Bed and Breakfast sector struggling to keep afloat, despite consistently being reported as the most memorable for visitors. 

Reports show that hotel occupancy in Dublin was higher in 2013 than it had ever been even during the boom, helped by the growth of business tourism from the Convention Centre in Dublin and a proliferation of events in the O2 and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, all of which have opened since the recession started.

Every hotel needs a large number of people, in a wide range of different roles in order to function properly. Career opportunities for people interested in the hotel sector are wide and varied. Some of the job roles include:

  • Rooms Division - Front Office Manager; Reservations Manager;  Guest Services Manager; Security Manager; - responsible for the effective management of the reception desk, reception staff and the number of bedroom sales in the hotel; safety and security of guests
  • Receptionist - Works at the front desk of a hotel, resort, etc. and is the first person a guest deals with on arrival
  • Accommodation Manager/Assistants - responsible for the cleanliness of bedrooms and all public areas of the hotel
  • Events & Leisure - Director of Events; Conference and Banqueting Managment; Event Manager;

Careers in these roles are available not only in hotels, but in B&Bs, Guesthouses, Hostels, Campsites and Holiday Villages all over Ireland. In addition to these roles are the managerial roles that keep the business side of things running including:

  • General Manager/Group General Manager
  • Duty Manager
  • Sales and Marketing Manager
  • Human Resource Manager
[Detailed information on individual occupations is available from the 'Sample Careers' panel on this page]

The Hospitality industry has expanded beyond the traditional areas of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. In recent years we have seen the provision of catering at a wide range of additional facilities from food halls within supermarkets, to the burgeoning nursing home sector and institutional catering to sporting events - all have expanded the employment opportunities in hospitality.

Food and Beverage

The Food and Beverage sector covers all types of establishments supplying food and drinks, from hotels and restaurants, to pubs, clubs and venues. This sector attracts people who like to work with people, creating and serving meals, making cocktails, designing menus etc. These occupations require excellent social skills as people are working closely with each other and with the public.

Careers in the Food and Beverages area include:

  • Chef
  • Commis Chef - entry level role of a chef – prepares dishes to be cooked, general kitchen work
  • Restaurant Manager
  • Waiter
  • Sommelier - Wine expert
  • Bar Staff
  • Bar Manager

Getting into the Hospitality Sector 

The range of courses available spans all levels from Further Education (FET/PLC) courses at Level 4-5 through to Level 6 and 7 courses with both FE Colleges and the Institutes of Technology and Level 8 Degree programmes in Hospitality Management. 

Check out the Course Search Wizards available here to help you with finding the right course.

New apprenticeship training opportunities are also available to address the ongoing demand for Chefs (Commis Chef; Sous Chef; Chef dePartie; Executive Chef) and Tourism 

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