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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Adult Learner

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Up-Skilling Courses +


A number of government upskilling programmes have been developed which aim to encourage individuals to continue their learning and increase their skills level. Many of these programmes include financial supports.

If you are unemployed, or want to further your education, there is likely to be a support programme that will help you financially, while doing a course you may be interested in.

Most upskilling courses are designed to assist unemployed people to improve their skills and increase their chances of getting employment. Detailed information on current Employment Programmes can be found in our Job Seekers area

For information on Employment Programmes click here

Did you know?

From May 2018 Springboard+ offers 8,088 free places on 245 courses leading to awards at certificate, degree and post-graduate level. The majority of courses are part-time for a maximum of 12 months and are open to all eligible applicants regardless of their employment status.

The following are eligible to apply for courses in 2018/19 academic year (subject to the applicant meeting all requirements, e.g. academic requirements):

  • Retuners (Formerly known as Homemakers)
    • May apply to all courses if they meet the nationality/visa requirement and residency criteria.
  • People in employment
    • May apply to all courses if they meet the nationality/visa requirement and residency criteria.
    • Please note that a 10% course fee contribution for Level 7, 8, and 9 courses is applicable for employed participants. This is payable directly to the provider.
  • The unemployed or formerly self-employed
    • all courses are open to these category of applicants, with the exception of the two year part-time ICT conversion courses which are not open to those in receipt of a Jobseekers-related payment
To search courses: click here

MOOCs - Massive Online  Open Courses

MOOCs are free courses that are available to anyone. They don't give you a recognised qualification, but they do provide an excellent opportunity to expand your knowledge of a subject, or if you simply want to upskill. Some MOOCs are designed by the top universities around the world. Here in Ireland, MOOCs are offered by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. All you need to participate is internet access. A searchable database of MOOCs is available here.

Need advice on what to do?

With so many possible courses, and a variety of different financial supports available, many people choose to discuss their options with a local careers advisor. Government based services provide free consultations and are available nationwide.

Click here to go to Adult Guidance Services