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 Paul Dowling from Teagasc to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Paul Dowling

Horticulturist

Teagasc

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  Paul Dowling
Ideally, try and get a job in the industry for a summer, or get a bit of experience before you go into it. You have to be happy with working outside, and doing physical work. If you are not prepared to work hard or are looking for a soft job, don't go into Landscaping. Design is very sexy at the moment, everyone wants to be a designer, a Landscape Designer. It's different on the ground, you have to be out there on sites in all weather and you have to make sure projects are managed well and you're able to muck in with everyone else. Biology is most important for anyone going into Horticulture or Landscaping as it covers propagation and helps with the identification of plant names, species and families through the universal use of Latin. Chemistry is also helpful as the use of various chemicals is a constant in horticulture. The chemical content and dangers of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides in use in Amenity Horticulture needs to be understood anyone going into this business. Geography would be a relevant subject as well. Also, the simple things like having a full, clean driving licence, which can make you a lot more employable if you are trying for a job with a Landscape Conractor. This indicates that you are more mobile and can also drive a company van if needed. Be sure you're happy with the outdoor life. Having taken a Horticulture course will give you an advantage. However, it's possible to take a job first and study later, e.g. in IT Blanchardstown it is possible to study at night. I think you cannot beat doing the Diploma Course in the National Botanic Gardens because it is a good practical course which also covers all the theory and is invaluable for gaining plant knowledge.
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Creative?
Creative 
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be drawn towards the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
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Rural Social Scheme

The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) is aimed at low-income farmers and fishermen/women.

To qualify for the RSS you must be getting a social welfare payment. In return, people participating in the RSS provide services that benefit rural communities. For example:

  • Maintaining and enhancing various walking routes
  • Energy conservation work for older people and those at risk of poverty
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects
  • Social care and care of older people
  • Community care for pre-school and after-school groups
  • Environmental maintenance work
  • Projects relating to not-for-profit cultural and heritage centres
  • Community administration or clerical work
  • Any other appropriate community based project identified during the scheme

Participants in the scheme work 19.5 hours per week. These hours are to ensure participation on the scheme does not affect your farming/fishing activities.

If you get a place on the RSS Scheme, you are offered a contract from your start date up to the following 31st March. You may be considered for a further term following the initial contract, if you continue to meet all the criteria for the Scheme.

As this scheme is administered locally, you should contact your local RSS implementing body for further information or an application form. 

Further information on the RSS scheme is also available click here

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ask the experts
  Hint: Health Service Executive

My current job is a Health Care Assistant.  I have worked for the Health Service for the last 20 years as an attendant. Up until the last year an attendant was the only non-nursing role within the hospital.  All non-nursing roles were classed as attendants. This role consisted of some care of the clients, cleaning and some catering duties.

In the last few years the national strategy within the Health Service was to break up this group of staff into three distinct roles, Health Care Assistants, Catering Staff and Household Staff in order to provide a better service to the clients using the service. The staff working at ward level were given the option of which group of staff they wished to be part of. The role of Health Care Assistant was determined by staff who had completed the Health Care Assistant's course, staff undergoing the course and then seniority of staff.

My role for the last 20 years was as an attendant within a kitchenette at ward level. I have completed a Skills VEC FETAC Level 5 Course Modules including: Communications, Care Support, Food Preparation and Service, Legislative Procedures & Quality, Nutrition, Work Experience, Infection Prevention and Control and Stock Control and Material Systems.

I wanted to return to the caring role so I opted for the Health Care Assistant's role.


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