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 Fergus O'Connell from BioPharmachem Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:

Fergus O'Connell

Quality Officer

BioPharmachem Ireland

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Fergus O'Connell
A broad science background is very important. An ability to recognise small inconsistencies is equally important. For example do you recognise small discrepancies between different camera shots of the same scene in films and TV series?

An ability to question everything and think laterally is important. Also the ability to say 'no' (not everyone is comfortable doing this). Working in quality is not about being popular and definitely not about being a tyrant but one needs to be approachable, consistent and have good interpersonal skills.

Not all of your decisions are going to be popular but they need to be based on a sound rationale and you need to be able to support them. One also needs to be acutely aware of the fact that your opinion won't always be right.

One must always be open to being convinced of an alternative argument.
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Realist?
Realist
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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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 ...

The Springboard+ government initiative offers a choice of over 200 free, part-time and intensive conversion courses in higher education from certificate, to degree, to post-graduate level. See search courses for full details. Applications can also be made for one-year full-time and two-year part-time ICT Skills Conversion courses.

Since 2017, SpringBoard courses are now open to the following categories of applicant:

  • Homemakers (all courses are open to Homemakers)
  • People in employment
    • who wish to take a course in the manufacturing sector (e.g. Bio-pharma or medical devices technology) or
    • who wish to take an ICT Conversion course or
    • who already hold a Level 7 (Ordinary Degree) IT qualification who wish to upskill to a Level 8 IT qualification
  • 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)

All courses lead to qualifications in enterprise sectors which are growing and need skilled personnel, including information and communications technology (ICT); manufacturing; international financial services; and key skills for enterprise to trade internationally. Qualifications are also available in cross-enterprise skills such as innovation, enterprise/entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and project management.

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