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 Mary Joyce from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:

Mary Joyce

Secondary School Teacher

Department of Education and Skills

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Mary Joyce
Teaching as they say is a vocation, it is a job that requires patience and enthusiasm. If you are considering teaching you need to look beyond the holidays and think of the 9-4 Monday to Friday spent dealing with children or teenagers and the challenges which they might pose.

I would advise anyone thinking of teaching as a career to speak with Teachers and learn of their experiences, both positive and negative. I personally would encourage people to consider teaching as it is an extremely rewarding profession in terms of the interaction you get daily with young people and the colleagues you meet in the job.

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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Countdown to closing date for 2017 National Career Skills Competition

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Countdown to closing date for 2017 National Career Skills Competition

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 

Countdown to closing date for 2017 National Career Skills Competition

There is just one week to go to the closing date for The National Career Skills Competition 2017!

Have you got what it takes?

Every year hundreds of second-level students go out on work experience. This competition is your chance to tell us about your work placement - describe the SKILLS you developed during your time on work placement and what you observed about the world of work, and be in with a chance to win some great prizes!



The competition is open to 2nd level students (LCE/LCA/LCVP/TY) who have taken part in Work Experience. There is also a special stand alone category for entries 'as gaeilge'.

What are Career Skills?

Video: TY students describe career skills from their perspective.

We are giving away superb prizes, sponsored by McDonald's Ireland, for the top three entries in each of three distinct categories:

  • TY
  • Leaving Cert (Including LCA & LCVP)
  • Irish Language entries

In addition, the school of the winning student from each category will receive a cash prize for the relevant programme.



The winner of each category receives the amazing Apple MacBook Air laptop, with Dr Dre Beats for each 2nd Place and a Creative Bluetooth Speaker for each 3rd Place.

In addition, the school of the winning student from each category will receive a cash prize of €1,000 for the relevant school programme.

All other competition entrants will receive a unique Certificate of Participation for inclusion in their career portfolio.


The National Career Skills Award Ceremony 2017 will take place in May at the Department of Education & Skills. The winning students, their parents, programme co-ordinators and principals will all be invited to attend the prize giving ceremony. 

The national co-ordinators of the school programmes will be in attendance, alongside key individuals from guidance, education and industry.


The competition is based on your work experience.

When you do a work placement, you get a chance to see and meet the people who's work and efforts contribute to the success of a company or organisation. You get a chance to see what the work is like, and think about whether you might like to do something similar some day. Love it or hate it, you will certainly know more after spending some time watching, helping out, or even contributing to the tasks and activities of these people. 

The competition asks you to investigate closely one person who you get to work alongside during your placement. It asks you to describe the job-role, find out what education is required to enter it, to notice some of the skills required to do the job well, and most importantly, to tell us what skills YOU have developed during that time.

In other words, you need to complete a Career Investigation for a job role you observed and learnt more about during your time on work experience.


Competition Entries can be made online, by e-mail or by post.

Online Entries

Online entry is available to students who register with (click on the 'Sign Up' link at the top of every page). 

Once registered with the site, follow the links to complete the National Career Skills Competition.

Email Entries

Email your completed entry document as an MSWord or PDF attachment to with the following details in the subject line: 

Your Name, Competition Category and School Name 

e.g. John Smith, TY, Marian College Clonmel

Postal Entries

Completed Entries should be sent to:

[Programme Name] (The name of the Category] you are entering LCE/LCA/LCVP, TY, Gaeilge)
The National CareerSkills Competition
7, Richview Office Park

Good luck and remember, if you're not in you can't win!

View previous Finalists and Winners here

Terms and Conditions apply.

The CareersPortal Team