Louise Mc Donald, Private (Line)
Security, Defence & Law Enforcement

Louise Mc Donald, Private (Line)

Louise comes from a military background and always felt she would like to join the army. She completed her Leaving Cert before joining, and has completed several additional courses as part of her training.

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What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

I was in the scouts for a number of years which gave me an outlook on camping and survival in the outdoors. I finished up in the scouts as a leader after achieving Scout of the Year. I personally had always intended on becoming a soldier from an early age.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

I come from a military backround. My Father was a Sgt for 21 years in the Defence Forces, as was my uncle. I was always influenced by both of them, whether I was aware of it or not while growing up.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I rang the army and requested an application form which was sent out to me. I submitted the application and in time was called for an interview.

The interview board consisted of three soldiers, an officer and two sergeants. They asked me questions about myself, my background, and what knowledge I had of the Defence Forces. I was sent a letter to tell me that I had been successful in my interview. 

I then had to complete a medical and a fitness test. I got a letter about one month letter telling me I was successful and when I was to start my training.

Describe a typical day?

A normal day in the army starts at 08:25. You would be on parade at that time where an NCO would inspect your uniform and make sure everybody is there and then do some foot drill with us. From 09:00 until 11:00 we are tasked with jobs that come from our superiors which can be anything from cleaning, weapons, training or lectures. We then have a tea break. Then physical training would be organised for us.

After lunch we have another parade followed by more tasks. On a normal day we would finish at 16:30, however you are expected to prepare everything for the next day e.g. clean and iron your uniform and prepare what equipment is needed for the next day.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

I currently work in the company office which carries a lot of responsibilties. I am responsible for the tasks that are given to me by the company sergeant, such as rations, parade states, notices to let everybody know what is happening at any given time. I also carry out my regimental duties such as barrack guard and ATCP. What I do is important for the smooth running of the company, if the company runs smoothly then so does the battalion and the organisation.

What are the main challenges?

Every day presents different challenges, some more challenging than others. For example Barrack Guard presents its own challenges, patrolling , monitoring and remaining alert for the duration of your duty. Everyday in my office job there are different challenges which also have to be met.

What's cool?

My friends think that it is exciting and cool that I fire weapons and carry out war games in the mountains etc.  I also find it exciting and really enjoyable. My friends also think it is cool that we get to travel over seas for long periods of time. I like the fact that I get to meet a lot of different people and make many friends.

What's not so cool?

Some exercises can be very long and demanding. Sometimes you can be wet, hungry and tired and you just feel sorry for yourself.  But when it is all over I look back on it and realise the laugh that I had.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

My previous experience of computers has helped me in my current position in the company office, especially with the PMS system. I get on with people and I can take a slagging and I can also give it back. I get on well with all my comrades and we can have a laugh while also getting the job done.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

I always knew I wanted to join the army as a recruit. Therfore my subjects in school did not influence my career. However I completed my Leaving Cert as it is important to have in case things did not go to plan. I also focused a lot on sports, I played Ladies gaelic for my local G.A.A and camogie. I had to keep a standard of fitness as that is one of the main requirements for the army.

What is your education to date?

I joined the Army with my Leaving Cert. Since I have been in the Army I have completed a First Aid course, computer appreciation course, signals course, crowd riot control and different weapon courses. The signals course is eight weeks long. I learned radio communications, codes, phonetic alphabet and radio discipline. This course is very important as everywhere the Army goes they have to keep communication open at all times with headquarters while keeping secure.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Irish gave me a head start in recruit training as it helped me with the words of command.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

The most rewarding event so far was my completion of recruit and three star training. I felt I had achieved a great deal and it was the proudest day of my life. I will never forget that day. I'd like to be remembered as a good team player and as a good contributor by my fellow recruits and training ncos.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

My sense of humour is a great asset in my career. I am by nature a very organised person. I like to do things right or not at all. I set myself goals and intend to meet them.

What is your dream job?

If I had not gotten into the Army, my dream job would be forensic science as I find it very interesting. I would have focussed on DNA analysis and ballistics.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Yes. My job is varied, interesting and can present different challanges every day. It offers me security and I am continually learning new administration skills in my current appointment. I still have plenty of leisure time to spend with my friends and my family. The Army offers me the chance for promotion and overseas service.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

I would advise them to get themselves physically fit and to maintain it. I would also say that a sense of humour is very important and the ability to laugh at themselves. They should have self discipline and be prepared to accept imposed discipline. Punctuality is very important as is respect for others. If they had sporting interests that would be a help.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

The three most important characteristics in my opinion would be;

  • Punctuality
  • Personal Discipline
  • Self Respect and respect for others

What is your favourite music?

My favourite music is dance.

What is your favourite film?

My favourite film is Grease.

What is your pet hate at work?

People being late.

What is your star sign?


Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

The Army encourages continual development and advancement in training. I intend on doing an NCO's course, advanced weapon training and more computer courses. There are plenty of courses that I intend on doing but most of all I plan for promotion.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Joining the FCA would be the best insight to what the Army would be like. Scouting or adventure groups would also be an asset.

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