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 Brenda O Loughlin from McDonald's to give some advice for people considering this job:


Brenda O Loughlin



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  Brenda O Loughlin
I guess I would tell anyone considering this job that they need to be able to multi task, have good people and communication skills and be prepared to work hard.

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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Work Placement Programme

The Work Placement Programme is a Government supported programme that brings employers and the unemployed together for up to a nine month work experience placement. Participants do not need to be in receipt of a social welfare payment.

The placement is unpaid and voluntary. However, if you are already in receipt of certain social welfare payments, you may be allowed to retain your payment while on a placement.
If you are unemployed and have not secured paid work, the programme allows you to apply your skills and gain valuable experience in a workplace setting. This could give you an edge when applying for jobs in the future. Employers benefit from having someone contribute to their business, whilst also enhancing the skills and career prospects of the individual.

How to Apply

To apply for placements you must be registered with INTREO/Employment Services and record your 'expression of interest' in the Work Placement Programme. You can do this at any local INTREO/Employment Service Office, or Local Employment Service Office (LES).
If you are already registered you can record your 'expression of interest' over the phone by calling Freephone 1800 611 116 or direct call 046 9738000.
If you are a graduate with a level 7 qualification you can apply for both the graduate placements (WPP1) and the non-graduate placements/everyone else (WPP2). 

Visit the Solas website for more information or click here for DSP details

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ask the experts
  Hint: Defence Forces

Each year from December to February, Air Corps cadetships are advertised on National TV and the National Newspapers. Applications for this can be found online or by applying to the Defence Force competitions section.

I applied by sending for an application form and filling it in. The applications are generally due in at the end of Febuaury (the online applications are more popular now). Within one month of applying, I received a letter inviting me for fitness testing at Baldonnel. Details for the fitness test can be found in the Cadetship booklet, which is available online/career days/Defence Force competition section.

On passing my fitness test I was invited to attend a preliminary interview. This was with 3 air corps personnel and took place in Baldonnel also. This was a competency based interview, details of which is in the cadetship booklet. I was successful in the preliminary  interview and was then invited to attend for Apptitude testing. This took a full day, and involved a number of apptitude tests including numerical tests, mechanical reasoning and verbal reasoning.

I was notified that I was successful in the apptitude tests and was called to the final interview stage. This includes a final interview, hand-eye co-ordination tests and a psychological evaluation. This also takes a full day and took place in PARC Aviation, Swords, Co.Dublin. It is from this stage that the final Air Corps candidates are chosen.

I was chosen in my year to be one of four cadets to be taken in. (Classes have normally between 5-10 people) I was notified on the day the CAO offers came out of my success in the process and I accepted my place. I was then called for a Medical evaluation at the end of August and started my training at the end of September.

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