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 Oisin McGrath from Defence Forces to give some advice for people considering this job:

Oisin McGrath

Lieutenant - Pilot - Air Corp

Defence Forces

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Oisin McGrath

If you are seriously considering applying for the Air Corps you should check the pre-required Leaving Certificate subjects as outlined in the cadetship booklet. This is very important!!

Also, if applying you should get the details of the fitness test from the cadetship booklet and make sure you can do each of the disciplines well before the fitness test...a lot of people fail this part of the application process, and it can be passed easily!

If possible, you should organise a visit to Baldonnel through somebody that you know or maybe even your school...just to get familiar with the aircraft and to see the daily operation of the Air Corps.

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Administrative Officer - Department of An Taoiseach

"While government decides policy, we are responsible for and seeing it effectively implemented on the ground." David Crowe, Administrative Officer - Department of The Taoiseach. 

During my studies in the areas of Corporate Law and Economic Science in National University of Ireland, Galway; I had never really considered the civil service as a career, as they weren’t hiring at the time.

Seeing the competition advertised gave me the chance to seriously consider it for the first time. When I first applied I knew very little about the role and duties of the civil service in the running of government.



Since then I’ve learnt a lot about the importance of what we’re responsible for and the effect we can have on the people of the country. While government decides policy, we are responsible for and seeing it effectively implemented on the ground. Supporting government in setting policy, it’s an exciting challenge to be part of.

I am currently working in the Economic, Northern Ireland and International division in the Department of the Taoiseach. While only a very recent entrant, I’ve already prepared briefings for the Taoiseach and other senior officials and played a real role in drafting the National Reform Programme before its submission to the European Commission.

This was cross-government document which required us to work with many other departments and required a wide range of skills. This provided the most memorable moment so far for me, when I attended an Oireachtas Committee with Minister of State Donohoe about the National Reform Programme.

I have found the managers and colleagues in the division to be extremely supportive in helping me settle in and providing guidance on my work and there has been a wide range of training provided by IGEES (Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service) to continue my professional development. The flexible working hours have been a real bonus in the position, making the work-life balance much easier to manage.

I’m currently looking forward to the opportunities for travel and varied work the job presents. In fact, a colleague in the division is currently in Shanghai and there are annual programs to go on secondment with European agencies.

There is also huge potential for varied work in the civil service as I can be rotated to another department in the service for a period of time, giving me the chance to add breadth to my career.

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Article by: David Crowe