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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Communications Consultant - European Commission

"The EU needs ‘digital natives’ – millennials who can help the EU click, copy and code its way to a more digital existence." Ian McCafferty, Communications Consultant - European Commission. 

After completing a BA in English and History at University College Dublin, I worked as a volunteer with various NGOs and non-profit organisations before deciding to pursue a Masters in International Relations in Dublin City University. This led me to take on an internship in a small NGO working with migrant communities in Ireland, which eventually evolved into a full-time job.

Over the next few years I held a number of positions related to advocacy and project management, culminating with the role of Head of Communications. That was my springboard to the EU.

Stagiaire at the European Commission 

Having become increasingly aware that many decisions being made in Brussels had a direct impact on people in Ireland and elsewhere, I wanted to get closer to the decision-making process, learn about it in a hands-on, practical manner and develop my capacity to communicate about it to raise awareness and, ultimately, get more people involved in shaping those decisions. I applied to become a stagiaire at the European Commission and was selected by its Directorate-General for Communication (DG COMM).

Over the course of the five month traineeship I took whatever opportunities came my way: I had the chance to write and to develop presentations; I asked to undertake trainings and play a role in various projects; I looked to learn what I could and get involved where possible. As a result, when a vacancy within DG COMM’s Social Media Team arose toward the end of my traineeship, I was in a good position to apply.

Social Media

The opportunities are there if you look for them. My job is to give the European Commission a voice online - more specifically, on social media. Social media is driven by storytelling, the art of which is to know your audience. As audiences vary depending on the platform in question (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc), my job is to tell a story in different ways across social media.

Every story is different and so is every day at my desk. Our approach to presenting the Commission’s key messages is always evolving, as is the way we react to responses and collect and analyse the resultant data (e.g. number of people reached, engagement rate etc). I am constantly learning. Irish graduates can bring a lot to the European Institutions: new perspectives; personal opinion; fresh energy.

The EU needs ‘digital natives’ – millennials who can help the EU click, copy and code its way to a more digital existence.

Being a native English speaker is definitely a big advantage. Having a good grasp of at least one more language is one step further. If you like the idea of working with a multi-cultural team of talented and passionate people and want to make a real difference, the EU could be for you.

gradpublicjobs.ie

Article by: Ian McCafferty