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 Siobhan Canny from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:

Siobhan Canny


Health Service Executive

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Siobhan Canny

I would advise anybody wishing to pursue a career as a Midwife to focus on having science subjects in their Leaving Certificate. The basic entrance requirements are high at the moment so a good Leaving Certificate is essential (unless applying as a mature applicant).

To be accepted onto a training course you have to do an interview where they will determine whether you are suitable for the job or not. In the interview I would advise you to relax and to be yourself, answer honestly and do not be afraid to promote yourself.

The interviewers are looking for intellegent, hard working, nice people who are genuinely interested in being with women in pregnancy and labour. They are looking for students who have a basic understanding as to what this entails.


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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Ciarán Garry - Warehouse Manager

Ciarán Garry, a Warehouse and Support Services Manager with Abbott Ireland talks to Smart Futures about his career in healthcare manufacturing.

What are the main tasks, responsibilities and skills required?

My role includes managing all of the areas that oversee materials and services needed in manufacturing. It involves staging (which is the preparation of items for use in manufacturing) of all materials. Cleaning and sterilizing of equipment also needs to be done, as well as storing and preparing equipment. The finished products and materials then need to be shipped from Abbott. Managing the budgets for running these departments is also one of my main responsibilities.

Describe a typical day?

A typical day involves addressing any issues with my team leaders that may be occurring i.e. issues with production. Management of employees also needs to be addressed on a daily basis. I hold regular meetings with my team who provide updates on projects, work schedules, ideas, and improvements. Throughout the day I plan for the future. Identifying potential issues and solutions is happens constantly.

What are the things you like best about the job?

My roles change on a weekly basis. My main responsibilities stay the same, but I am constantly involved in different projects. I guide and advise my team on what challenges we face and see how we can address and overcome issues. My team and the site senior management trusts me to work responsibly. I enjoy this part of the job as it is difficult, but also very rewarding.

What are the main challenges?

Working to tight deadlines can be very difficult. Making sure all work is completed on time brings daily challenges. There are also challenges with materials that we face each day and finding solutions to these is one of our main roles.

Who or what has most influenced your career direction?

My mother and father were a big influence on me. I inherited a good work ethic from them. I was encouraged to get a third level qualification which would open doors in time. I have seen how different people succeed at work and one thing stands out, if you are dedicated and work hard, you will be successful. Managers have had a big influence and impact on my career. In some cases they have noticed how good I was at certain tasks without me realising it. They encouraged me to take risks and roles which were outside my comfort zone. Becoming knowledgeable in different areas is also important for personal development. It is good to challenge yourself. People who try their hand at new things are appreciated and respected.

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

I am married and have three young children, so I have a very busy life. My role in Abbott is very demanding, with a lot of responsibility, as my teams cover production 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I love to exercise but fitting this in with a hectic family life is challenging. I am part of the local GAA team’s management and help train underage players. I like working for Abbott because it is a very respectable company, which ultimately helps people live fuller lives through better health. The opportunities for advancement in Abbott are huge.

What is your education to date?

I studied physics, chemistry, Irish, English, maths and German in school. After my Leaving Cert, I did a certificate in Science in GMIT Galway, and then did a diploma in analytical chemistry, before finally completing a degree in fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals, in Kingston University, London. My career has changed over the last ten years, moving from operations and technical lab based roles through to quality and finally to supply chain .

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

Initially my diploma and degree were important to my technical roles. Parts of my current role requires an in-depth knowledge of the business and how it operates. Understanding the limitations and requirements of areas you work closely with is very important. This is mostly learned through experience.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Make sure it is what you want to do and it is your decision. You have to be happy in your job, or it won’t work for you. College is a fundamental requirement nowadays and many people are going back to get third level qualifications. It is important to work hard and be dedicated.

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

In an ideal world a person would have a background in supply chain, but sometimes this can be substituted with experience, attitude and ability. If you are not seen as competent or capable, you will rarely be offered new opportunities. If people talk highly of you, then other people are more willing to trust you and give you a chance.

Article by: Smart Futures