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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Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
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My Job as Receptionist in a 4 Star Hotel

Megan Elsey works as a receptionist at Cork’s four star River Lee Hotel. She tells us about life at the front desk.

Why did you choose a career in tourism?

As soon as I started my first job working in a bar I knew I wanted to do something which involved being face-to-face with the public. I considered doing a Bar Management course at college, but after a little research I soon worked out that I would have a broader and more pliable skillset by doing Hotel Management. As soon as I started my first year placement at The River Lee Hotel I knew I had made the right choice. Since then I have held various roles and enjoyed the different challenges that they bring.

What advice would you give future hoteliers?

Find a good company, like The Doyle Collection which owns The River Lee, that has a culture of providing training to everyone from the bottom all the way to the top. It is hard work and everyone has bad days, but the rewards are fantastic so be prepared for a challenge. People notice what you do even when nothing is said directly to you, so always give what you can.

What do you do each day?

No two days are the same, just as no two guests are the same. At the front desk, I am viewed by guests as the voice of the hotel. We are their first interaction and their last impression, as well as providing help with any questions or queries about the hotel or local area during their stay. I also have many duties that the guest does not see, such as cash handling and sorting out reservations. What does your role entail? There are many different elements to my current role. First and foremost is providing guest satisfaction. We must go above and beyond for our guests. Secondly, I am a training buddy to new members of the team. This gives people a ‘go to’ person if they have any questions which can be less intimidating than going to management. My last role is to help out the rest of the team whenever needed.

What kind of person do you feel would suit your job?

The most important attribute a person should have is an eagerness to learn and progress. If you don’t then you can become stagnant and stuck in a rut. Being confident and outgoing is important, but it can also be developed within the right company.

What are your plans for the future?

I 100% want to stay in the hotel business. I would like to increase my knowledge and skills within the sales and marketing sector. This could be either a short-term placement, one day a week in the office here, or an industry-recognised course. Within the next few years I aim to become a duty manager at the hotel. The long-term goal is to either become a general manager or to work in the sales and marketing department at group head office.

What kind of person do you feel would suit your job?

The most important attribute a person should have is an eagerness to learn and progress. If you don’t then you can become stagnant and stuck in a rut. Being confident and outgoing is important, but it can also be developed within the right company.

What are your plans for the future?

I 100% want to stay in the hotel business. I would like to increase my knowledge and skills within the sales and marketing sector. This could be either a short-term placement, one day a week in the office here, or an industry-recognised course. Within the next few years I aim to become a duty manager at the hotel. The long-term goal is to either become a general manager or to work in the sales and marketing department at group head office

Article by: 'Get a Life in Tourism' Publication 2015