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 Lisa Curry from Failte Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:


Lisa Curry

Catering Sales Executive

Failte Ireland

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  Lisa Curry
I would advise them that the sales world is not as glamorous and easy as it comes across but it can be extremely rewarding. I would recommend you go for this type of position if you are someone who enjoys a challenge and can negotiate very well.

Sales and Catering Sales as a position is a tough one and there are a lot of challenges in that you really need to be customer focused yet remember that you have to make a profit. Selling weddings is a side of my job that is very satisfying as you get to see the end result of something that you have created which at the same time is the most important event in a families and a couple’s life.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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At a Glance... header image

Social & Caring

This sector includes careers and professions associated with providing help, care and support, across the general community. People work in partnership with those who experience marginalisation or disadvantage or who have special needs.

Jobs in the field of Social and Caring may involve working with both clients, and their families, often over a long period of time, for example:

  • Supporting and helping vulnerable people; older people; people who are homeless; adolescents in residential care; people recovering from alcohol or drug dependency; people who are immigrants
  • Caring for people with learning disabilities or with physical disabilities
  • Giving advice and information about welfare rights, education, money, careers or jobs to people who need it
  • Working in a community education centre, engaging local people of all ages in different learning activities
  • Counselling people to help them sort out problems in their lives, an area where you must develop a trusting relationship with your client.

Work in this sector also involves liaising with other personnel across related areas, such as Doctors, Public Health Nurses, home helpers etc., to plan an integrated approach to care. Contact with voluntary agencies who have vested interests in different areas of social care work is also a central to work in this area.

Social Work header image

Social work is a profession for those with a strong desire to help improve people's lives. Social workers often see clients who face a life-threatening disease or a social problems, such as inadequate housing, unemployment, a serious illness, a disability, or substance abuse. Social workers also assist families that have serious domestic conflicts, sometimes involving abuse.

In Ireland the biggest employer of social workers is the Health Service Executive (HSE). Social workers also work with adoption agencies, hospitals and clinics, and in the probation and welfare service. 

Voluntary agencies catering for specific interest groups also employ social workers. These include charities, special schools (run by religious groups or parents) and treatment centres.

Social Workers must hold a qualification recognised by the Health and Social Care Professional Council* (CORU) that will lead to the award of National Qualification in Social Work (NQSW). 

It is possible to combine an academic social science degree with professional social work training, or alternatively, you can complete a postgraduate professional course, following a three-year social science degree or its equivalent. 

Social workers are registered at the Health and Social Care Professionals Council (CORU). Registration applies to anyone wishing to practise in Ireland in the regulated professions, regardless of whether they received their qualifications in Ireland, within the EEA/EU or elsewhere, and whether they work in the public, voluntary or private sector, as an employee, or as a private practitioner. 

NOTESocial Workers are now required to apply for registration with CORU, the body charged with regulating health and social care professionals in Ireland. (The deadline was 31 May 2013 for those social workers who hold historical qualifications of the profession including Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (CQSW) or a National Qualification in Social Work (NQSW). 

*(Formerly the National Social Work Qualifications Board (NSWQB)- Dissolved 31 March 2010)

Medical Social Work - Most public hospitals employ Social Workers. Medical and Public Health Social Workers provide persons, families, or vulnerable groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease or Cancer. 

Medical Social Workers are involved in counselling patients. They also help plan for their needs after they are discharged from the hospital, by arranging for at-home services, such as meals-on-wheels or oxygen equipment.

Mental Health Social Work - Mental health and substance abuse Social Workers assess and treat individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. 

Examples of the services involved in this area include individual and group therapy, outreach work, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and training in skills for everyday living. They also may help plan the best way to make use of supportive services to ease a patients'; return to the community.

Mental health and substance abuse Social Workers are likely to work in hospitals, substance abuse treatment centres, or with individual and family services agencies. 

Probation & Welfare - As a Probation and Welfare officer in the Department of Justice, you may find work with the Adoption Board, in the Courts, or in Prisons and places of detention.

Child Welfare Services - The public health service in Ireland is obliged to provide social work services for children considered to be 'at risk' and for other child care services. This involves making recommendations to the appropriate authorities. These services are delivered at a local level by the Health Service Executive (HSE). The Social Workers who deliver these support services may be known as Child Welfare Social Workers, Family Services Social Workers or Child Protective Services Social Workers.

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Social Care header image

Social care workers and Social workers strive to support, protect, guide and advocate on behalf of their clients. To enjoy working in this career area, you need to be altruistic - a people person. Personal attributes such as empathy, compassion, self-awareness and open-mindedness are typical of those found working in the social care sector. Strong communication skills, an ability to use critical reflection, teamwork and interdisciplinary work are all important skills for social care practitioners.

Social Care Practitioners may work with children and adolescents in residential care; people with learning or physical disabilities; people who are homeless; people with alcohol/drug dependency; families in community; older people; recent immigrants to Ireland, among others.

Community & Welfare - Community Workers are sometimes employed by Local Authorities to run community and youth projects that aim to address such problems as teenage pregnancy, or anti-social behaviour. The work of Social and Community Workers can involve assisting one-parent families, the area of adoption, or finding foster home care for neglected, abandoned, or abused children.  Through community programmes, Community Workers may be involved in helping disadvantaged young people find suitable employment. There are also career opportunities for Trainers that help workers cope with job-related pressures or with personal problems that affect the quality of their work.

Social Housing - Social housing is a significant area of community work. The Irish Council for Social Housing reports that Housing Associations manage 27,000 homes in over 500 communities throughout the country. They provide housing and related services to families, the homeless, older people and people with disabilities. 

Working with Older People - Another area of social and community work is working in services for senior citizens, running support groups for family carers or for the adult children of aging parents, advising elderly people or family members about choices in areas such as housing, transportation, and long-term care, and coordinating and monitoring these services.

CORU is currently establishing Registration Boards for twelve Health and Social Care professions including Social Care Workers. The Social Care Workers’ Registration Board is expected to be established in 2014. This will require that any individual wishing to use the title of “Social Care Worker” and/or holds a recognised qualification in Social Care, or equivalent will be required to register with CORU.


Research shows that some 18.5% of the Irish Population (749,100 people), have some form of long-term disability (or disabilities). It is not always obvious when a person has a disability - the disability can be hidden such as dyslexia or epilepsy. It can be a visual or physical impairment; it can be an intellectual disability, or a person may have multiple disabilities or secondary impairments caused by the primary disability. Some disabilities are acquired, such as a medical condition or brain injury, and may require very specific and specialist care either short-term or long-term.

For various reasons and at different stages in their lives, people need support to develop and maintain their independence, dignity and control.  The main policy objective for people with disabilities is that they should be supported to lead full and independent lives, to participate in work and society and to maximise their potential. 

Workers in the disability sector provide a whole range of support services from face-to-face caring and training roles, to behind the scenes administration. People that work in the Disability sector contribute to day-to-day client support and the smooth operation of numerous facilities and services for people with a disability. 

Visit our Sector Expert St. Michael's House for detailed information working in community-based services for people with an intellectual disability.

A comprehensive area on disability is also available this site - click here to view 

Social Care Support Roles

There are many people whose chosen career path is to provide care on a daily basis. Care roles include:

  • Care Worker - provides care for children /young people with special needs in residential homes, day care centres and special schools.
  • Respite Worker - provides family carers with a break from full-time caring responsibilities
  • Special Needs Assistant - assigned to a child with a disability within the classroom situation
  • Care Attendant-(or nursing assistant) can work in a variety of care facilities in the public, private and voluntary care sectors, varying from residential nursing homes to community day care facilities and health centres.
  • Personal Assistant - provides assistance to an adult individual with a disability to allow them to live as independently as possible
  • Home Help - is employed by the HSE and provides support to a person with a disability, or an elderly, frail person who may wish to remain in their own home but require some assistance with certain tasks

Many colleges of Further Education offer courses in Care/Healthcare Assistant at FETAC Level 5 and Level 6 that are designed to prepare students to work competently in these settings. 

Childcare - Childcare is now commonly referred to as "Early Childhood Care and Education" and pre-school children in Ireland are children under 6 years of age, who are not attending a national school or equivalent. Pre-school services include pre-schools, montessori, play groups, naíonraí, day nurseries, crèches, childminders and other similar services looking after more than 3 preschool children. {See EDUCATION SECTOR for detailed information on roles and occupations in the area of Childcare}.

Garda Vetting
Following implementation of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 it is mandatory for persons working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted by the Gardaí. The Act lists the following work or activities where people working with children and vulnerable adult will require vetting:

  • Childcare services
  • Schools
  • Hospitals and health services
  • Residential services or accommodation for children or vulnerable persons
  • Treatment, therapy or counselling services for children or vulnerable persons
  • Provision of leisure, sporting or physical activities to children or vulnerable persons
  • Promotion of religious beliefs
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Psychology and Therapy header image

Psychology is the scientific study of thought, emotion and behaviour. The Psychologist examines the various aspects of human experience - people's emotions, their thoughts and their actions and applies their understanding to the person. Psychologists work in a variety of professional settings, including clinical, counselling, educational, organisational and academic environments.

The first step to a career in psychology in Ireland is to study for an undergraduate degree at honours Level 8. Completion of an approved degree (i.e. a degree where psychology is the major subject is required) enables a student to become a graduate member of The Psychological Society of Ireland (P.S.I.). Further postgraduate education and specialist training is then necessary to develop a career in psychology. 

Counselling - Counsellors help people to deal with problems, or at times when they are experiencing distress or loss of direction in their lives. 

Counsellors usually work with clients on a one-to-one basis, meeting them in private and treating their problems in confidence. People may need counselling to help them cope with situations or issues such as bereavement, anxiety, drug or alcohol dependency, debt or domestic violence.

At the moment, there are no legal minimum qualifications needed to become a Counsellor. However, the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) is very concerned that counselling standards should be developed and improved. For this reason, the IACP has developed strict Codes of Ethics and Practice for its members. They also have strict accreditation criteria, which includes 450 hours of client work and supervision.

Career/Guidance Counselling - Guidance Counsellors require post-graduate training. To become a Guidance Counsellor, you undertake a one year full-time (2-year part-time) post-graduate programme in guidance and counselling. Most Guidance Counsellors have spent some time in mainstream teaching before undergoing further training, allowing them to specialise in career guidance counselling. Full details of recognised training programmes are available from the National Centre for Guidance in Education NCGE here.

Guidance counsellors are mainly employed in second level schools, but they can also be found working in the Community Sector with early school leavers, disadvantaged groups, in Local Employment Services (LES) and in SOLAS (Formerly FÁS). {See EDUCATION SECTOR for additional information on Guidance Counselling}
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Total Records: 33
Full Address
Phone Number
National Arts and Health Website, Waterford Regional Hospital, Dunmore Road, Waterford
(051) 842 664
PO Box 11555, Ground Floor Office, Bow Bridge House, Bow Lane, Kilmainham, Dublin 8
(01) 633 7222
Catholic Youth Care, Arran Quay, Dublin 7
(01) 872 5055
Comhlámh, Ballast House, Aston Quay, Dublin 2
(01) 478 3490
13-15 The Mall, Beacon Court , Bracken Road, Sandyford, Dublin, 18
(01) 293 3160
Department of Social Sciences, 40 - 45 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1
(01) 402 4164
Archbishop's House, Drumcondra, Dublin 9
(01) 857 4198
Heraghty House, 4 Carlton Terrace, Novara Avenue, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
(01) 276 1211
The National Youth Development Organisation, Block 12D, Joyce Way, Park West, Dublin 12
(01) 630 1560
PO Box 19, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
(01) 280 9779
The Freedom from Hunger Council of Ireland, 12 Herbert Street, Dublin 2
(01) 661 5522
21, Dublin Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
(01) 272 3427
The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin, 7.
(01) 664 0600
The Basement, 17 Herbert St., Dublin, 2.
(01) 676 1975
Mespil Business Centre, Sussex Road, Dublin, 4.
0818 935 000
114-116, Pearse Street, Dublin, 2.
(01) 677 4838
50, Merrion Square East, Dublin, 2.
(01) 661 8334
563, South Circular Rd., Dublin, 8.
(01) 492 3326
Head Office, 16, Merrion Square, Dublin, 2.
(01) 661 4461
2nd Floor, Ballast House, Dublin, 2.
(01) 764 5854
189 Parnell St, Dublin 1
(01) 873 1411
1st Floor, 42/43 Prussia Street, Dublin 7
(01) 869 0715
3 Montague Street, Dublin 2
(01) 478 4122
An Bord Altranais, 18-20 Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin
(01) 639 8500
Psychotherapy Ireland, 13 Farnogue Park, Wexford
(01) 902 3819
8/10 Rock Hill, Main Street, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
(01) 488 4300
Unit G9 Calmount Park, Ballymount, Dublin, 12
(01) 429 3600
Floor 2, Grantham House, Grantham Street, Dublin 2
(01) 472 0105
8 New Cabra Road, Phibsboro, Dublin 7
(01) 868 9986
Bloomfield Avenue, Off Morehampton Rd, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
(01) 668 9954
18 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
(01) 636 9446
The Priory, John Street West, Dublin 8
(01) 633 4421
20 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1
(01) 858 4500

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