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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Denis Canty, Education Profile 

How did you go about getting your current job?
A friend noticed the job on irishjobs.ie and I rang the company directly. Sometimes the personal touch is helpful, which I followed with a CV submission. I then did an interview with the Human Resource Manager and also the senior electronic engineer. I was contacted by the Human Resource Manager a week later to notify me of their decision to hire me. It was a great feeling. 


Describe a typical day?
My work hours are 8:30 to 5:00, and we finish early (3:50) on Friday. First duty every day is to check my emails, to address any issues. Because our main plant is in Japan, we are in constant contact with them. With the time difference, between 8:30am to 10:00 am is the only time we can contact them. 

I have a number of functions such as supporting the manufacturing area on electronic test issues and also developing new tests. It's a good feeling when you solve a particular problem. There is a level of responsibility attached to the job so you have a level of respect from colleagues. 


What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
My main tasks are to:
  • Support our manufacturing production on electronic test issues.
  • Develop new electonic tests for new products.
  • Interact with the Japan office and also work colleagues on finding the correct solution. It is a team based organisation.
  • Act as a representative for the company on business trips abroad. Ethics are important.
  • Come up with new and innovative ideas, while trying to minimise cost.
  • Always maintain a positive attitude.
 


What are the main challenges?
There are many challenges. Everyday we come up against a new problem that needs to be solved. We are encouraged from the beginning of college to become an efficient problem solver and you really use this in the workplace. 


What's cool?
Job satisfaction, the social element to work (with regular nights out, summer barbecue, and Christmas social), and security. The aspect I like most about my job is the constant challenge and change that it brings. There is a great team atmosphere. 


What's not so cool?
In the role of being an Engineer, you have a level of respect and responsibility. Sometimes in order to complete a project on time, some extra hours are needed. 


What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
I bring a positive attitude, a good work ethic and a lot of knowledge, built up from years in college and the workplace.