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 Oisin McGrath from Defence Forces to give some advice for people considering this job:


Oisin McGrath

Lieutenant - Pilot - Air Corp

Defence Forces

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  Oisin McGrath

If you are seriously considering applying for the Air Corps you should check the pre-required Leaving Certificate subjects as outlined in the cadetship booklet. This is very important!!

Also, if applying you should get the details of the fitness test from the cadetship booklet and make sure you can do each of the disciplines well before the fitness test...a lot of people fail this part of the application process, and it can be passed easily!

If possible, you should organise a visit to Baldonnel through somebody that you know or maybe even your school...just to get familiar with the aircraft and to see the daily operation of the Air Corps.


The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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Key points for selected operatives and related occupations

  • In 2013, there were approximately 72,000 persons employed in operative occupations, representing 3.8% of Ireland's workforce
  • Approximately 70% of total employment of operatives was concentrated in manufacturing (mostly food; machinery and equipment; pharmaceuticals; computer, electronic and optical products)
  • Between 2008 and 2013, overall employment in the selected occupations increased by 3% on average annually; this was in contrast to an average annual decline of 2.4% in total national employment; the strongest employment growth was observed for food, drink & tobacco operatives (16.2% on average annually), while the strongest decline was observed for plant and machine operatives (9.3% on average annually)
  • Over the five-year period, there were approximately 10,000 net jobs created; the largest employment increase was observed for food, drink & tobacco operatives (6,600), while the largest employment decline was observed for plant and machine operatives (4,900)
  • Between 2012 and 2013, overall employment of operatives increased by 2.1%; the largest employment increase was observed for assemblers (1,700), while the largest decline was for food, drink & tobacco operatives (1,800)
  • The workforce of both construction and plant & machine operatives was the most mature among operative occupations, with approximately one fifth each aged 55 or older, exceeding the national average; in contrast, it was the youngest for food, drink & tobacco (14% aged under 25)
  • The education profile of operatives was skewed towards the lower end of the educational attainment spectrum; for instance, half of construction operatives had lower secondary or less qualifications
  • The share of non-Irish nationals employed in each operative occupation (excluding construction and chemical) exceeded the national average; at 34% and almost 30%, the highest share was for food, drink & tobacco and plant & machine operatives respectively.

Shortage Indicators

In 2013, vacancies were most frequent for process (e.g. food); construction (e.g. scaffolder) and machine (Computer Numerical Control (CNC)) operatives. Higher than average replacement rates were observed for construction and food operatives, while the later also had a higher than average turnover rate in 2013.

While there is currently no shortage of operatives in general, it is recognised that some manufacturing companies in engineering, medical devices and pharmaceuticals are experiencing difficulty in sourcing operatives with CNC skills.

In May 2013, there were over 300 job seekers registered on the DSP system who were machine tool setters and engineering operatives. However, it is likely that many job seekers were trained in traditional operative skills and are deficient in the digital competencies required for technologyintensive manufacturing environments.

Expected significant capital investment in high technology sectors is likely to positively impact on the demand for operative skills in the medium term. In addition, employment of operatives is expected to be positively affected by the further automation of production processes and the associated replacement of unskilled labour with skilled operatives.

However, the operative role is expected to become more knowledge and skill intensive (i.e. super-operative).

Labour Market Research 13

These links are to well established sources of information used to review, evaluate and predict changes in our labour market.

Regional Labour Markets Bulletin 2014 
Report prepared by the Skills and Labour Market
Research Unit in SOLAS aimed at providing an analysis of the key labour market indicators for each of Ireland’s eight administrative
regions: Border, Dublin, Mid-East, Midland, Mid-West, South-East, South-
Assessing the Demand for Big Data and Analytics Skills 2013 - 2020 
May 2014 EGFSN report identifying measures to build up the Big Data and analytics talent pool in Ireland over the period up to 2020 in line with enterprise demand.
EGFSN - Report for HE Providers on Springboard 2014 / ICT Level 8 Conversion Programme 
February 2014 Report "Guidance for Higher Education providers on current and future skills needs of enterprise - Springboard 2014 / ICT Level 8 Conversion Programme"
Addressing Future Demand for High-level ICT Skills (EGFSN) 
Study forecasting the demand for high-level ICT skills to 2018, across all sectors of the economy in Ireland.
The Green Economy in Ireland (EGFSN) 
This study identifies the future skills needs of enterprise engaged within the green economy in Ireland and proposes a range of measures to ensure that their future skills base will drive business and employment growth. The study informs education and tra
CSO - Central Statistics Office 
This is the primary source of statistical information about our population. Several of the reports generated by the CSO provide the basis of most other reports on the Labour Market.
Forfás - Ireland's national policy and advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation 
Forfás provides the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation (formerly Enterprise, Trade and Employment - DETE) and other stakeholders with analysis, advice and support on issues related to enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation.
Labour Market Information by occupation 
Labour Market Information by occupation produced jointly by SOLAS (formerly FAS) and the EGFSN
EGFSN - Expert Group on Future Skills Needs 
The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) is a body appointed by the Irish Government to advise it on aspects of education and training related to the future skills requirements of the enterprise sector of the Irish economy.
HEA - Higher Education Authority 
This link points to some of the Statistical data created by the HEA relating to our Higher Education system.
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Current Labour Market related info  3

These sites provide news of current events that relate to our evolving labour market.

IBEC Quarterly Economic Trends 
Download publication in PDF format.
SCSI Employment Opportunities & Skills Requirements for Construction and Property Surveying 2014-18 
New report April 2014 from SCSI outlining the Employment Opportunities and Skills Requirements for Construction and Property Surveying projected from 2014-2018
Irish Independant News - Labour Market 
Current news relating to the Irish Labour market.

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