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 Ita Heffernan from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:


Mary Ita Heffernan

Social Worker

Health Service Executive

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  Mary Ita Heffernan

Whilst in secondary school, I changed my mind many a time regarding the career path I wanted to pursue! I always knew that I wanted to work with people but was unsure about the profession which would most suit my interests and skills in this regard.

While in school, I definitely found that being unsure about the type or area of work you want to pursue is a very difficult and confusing position to be in, especially given the array of career choices now available and the pressure one feels in trying to make one’s mind up.

To this end, I would strongly advise anybody in this position to research courses and job descriptions well in order to make the most informed decision possible at that time in your life. 

I recommend one tries to gain as much work experience as possible as it will provide you with valuable insight into your skills, ability, likes/dislikes for certain areas of employment!!!!

Also I would research the courses and job areas as much as possible so that you can make an informed decision regarding your choices. If you can't gain enough information in school, contact the college directly or arrange to talk to somebody who facilitates the course. In particular, it would be really valuable to talk to somebody in the profession to gain a realistic and practical insight into the job.


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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English Language Assistant Scheme 2017 Now Open for applications

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English Language Assistant Scheme 2017 Now Open for applications

Monday, February 13, 2017 

English Language Assistant Scheme 2017 Now Open for applications

The English Language Assistant Scheme 2017 is currently open for applications. The English Language Assistant (ELA) Scheme operates between Ireland and five other European countries:

  • France - Applications close 17th February 2017
  • Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain- Applications closed 09 March 2017

The assistantship is a unique opportunity and a valuable life experience. As well as improving your language skills and confidence in speaking, gaining in-depth knowledge of life and culture in another country, a year abroad can also boost future employability.

The role of the ELA is to help the pupils to see the foreign language as a living language of millions of people rather than as a ‘school’ language. The basic duties of the assistant are:

  • To assist the regular staff of the school either in Austria, Germany, France, Italy or Spain
  • To conduct conversation classes in English
  • To supplement such classes by exercises in reading, dictation and oral composition
  • To give pupils an insight into the way of life in Ireland.

The five countries referred to above also select applicants from their own country who want to serve in Irish schools on the same basis as Irish Assistants serve in these countries.


France provides an astonishing variety of landscapes, architecture and food, and the opportunity to integrate into the local community in rural areas or to experience life in one of its many captivating cities.

Terms and conditions

It is a condition of eligibility for selection as a language assistant that the applicant must have successfully completed 2nd year of their bachelor degree by the time they take up their posting in France (October 2017).

Students in any discipline can apply, as long as they can state a good level of French certified by a university tutor.

Appointments are made to:

School level: Primary or Secondary schools, for a duration of 7 months starting from 01 October 2017 to 30 April 2018.

Salary: €964.88 (Gross) per month – approx. €794 (after taxes)

Age limits: the French authorities only accept candidates between 20 and 35 years of age.  (This is strictly adhered to).

Hours: The 12 hour timetable can be spread across up to three schools in the same area.

Location: Appointments can be anywhere in mainland France as well as Corsica, and oversea territories if requested so by the applicant.

You should be aware of the following before making your application

  • It is extremely difficult to find accommodation in Paris and schools are usually unable to assist. The cost of living in Paris is high and there is a difference between Paris and Paris Région.
  • Posts in the academies (regions) of Aix-Marseille, Montpellier, Toulouse and Bordeaux are often in small towns in rural areas where public transport may be limited.
  • The south of France and Paris are the most popular first-choice regions, so competition is particularly tough.
  • If your reason for choosing an area is that you have contacts and possible accommodation there, you must provide the name of your host and address of the accommodation for us to consider your request.

We recommend you research different regions of France thoroughly before applying. 

You will be invited to an induction course arranged by the local education authority (académie) in France at the end of September or early October 2017.

Further details can be obtained on the Centre international d’études pédagogiques’ website


The application forms for these posts are available to download.  Applications that are incomplete e.g. have documents missing will not be accepted. 

Application forms are available on the website here.

The closing date for receipt of completed applications for these posts is 17 February 2017.

Completed applications along with all required documents, must be returned to:

Programme d’assistants, Ambassade de France, 66 Fitzwilliam Lane, Dublin 2, D02 HP38

Further Information

For questions about the programme or help with the completion of the application form, please read the instructions on the website of the French Embassy.

Or Contact:

Nathalie-Zoé Fabert, Attachée de  coopération pour le franҫais Tél: (01) 277 5055

We would like to remind you that accepting a position as a language assistant has the worth of commitment, and any cancellation after having accepted the post has to be duly justified. 

Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain- Applications closed 09 March 2017 - Details Here

Conditions of the Post of English Language Assistant

The assistant is normally employed for 12 hours per week for one academic year. Outside the stated 12 hours of work the assistant is left free, subject of course to the usual discipline of the school. There is ample opportunity for personal studies. It may sometimes be possible for the timetable to be adjusted so as to allow long weekends or days free for travel or attendance at university or other courses.

Please be aware that the English Language Assistant Programme is a competitive process and candidates may only apply for a post in one country. 

Full details available from the Department of Education and Skills website here.

The CareersPortal Team