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.


The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Flexible route to Financial Service careers

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Flexible route to Financial Service careers

Wednesday, November 09, 2016 

Flexible route to Financial Service careers

Financial careers that don't take years!

No Points required - a flexible route to work in Financial Services that is open to school leavers.

Have you considered Financial Services as a work option?

Financial services companies are on the lookout for new talent and for many, the path to a job in this area is outside the traditional college route.

LIA can assist school-leavers and graduates with an avenue into the workforce with courses that:

  • have no points requirements
  • have minimum Leaving Cert requirements (5 passes)
  • are recognised by 100s of large employers
  • require no CAO application
  • are accredited by UCD

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What we offer

We offer a genuine and affordable option for school-leavers to become qualified for their start in financial services without the need to directly attend 3rd level institutions.

Our courses are offered through a blended learning approach. Students are provided with a range of online and hard-copy study resources and materials, as well as 24/7 access to chapter-by-chapter ‘Lectures on Demand’ in addition to live exam preparation lectures which run in a number of venues. This approach affords our students the opportunity to work while studying, gaining experience as they reach qualification.

Our courses, accredited by UCD, can be the key to unlocking a start in an industry that can provide a sustained and rewarding employment for students of all abilities.

LIA designations

More and more employers in financial services are insisting on professional qualifications before considering a candidate for a role, while others set a time limit on reaching these qualifications within the early months of their employment. This is where LIA can help.

The designations awarded through the successful completion of our courses allow people take their first step on the work ladder and progress in all manner of roles within the Financial Services industry.

The LIA designations which can help school-leavers gain employment are:

Accredited Product Adviser (APA) designations

Considered the launching pad to a career in financial services, these designations satisfy the Central Bank as well as employers and allow their holders to advise in a specific area of financial services. Most APAs can be achieved after just two modules.

Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA) designation

The benchmark for those in financial services, it is the recognised qualification that allows people to work in almost any type of advisory role with customers. The QFA has become an important qualification in the industry today for those looking to progress and build long-term employment within the industry.

Credit Union designations

With increased need for qualified people within the Credit Union Movement, achieving an LIA Credit Union Designation will allow school-leavers the opportunity to gain employment in this area.

Our Credit Union Channels programme has been developed to provide a comprehensive and tailored path to becoming qualified for a Credit Union role.

The programme comprises three designations that dovetail with each other and with other LIA designations, offering a unique Credit Union course offering.

Where we can take you

Financial Services

The Financial Services industry in Ireland is a major job creator, with over 25,000 (close to 10,000 outside Dublin) people directly employed. With the sheer size of the industry and the variety of job types there are lots of opportunities, positions and companies open to school-leavers.

Credit Unions

With over 300 Credit Unions across the country employing more than 3,500 people, our local Credit Unions are part of the fabric of almost every town in Ireland and can provide employment at the heart of the community.

Why work in Financial Services?

The Financial Services industry offers young people an incredible amount of choice in the work they do allowing room to explore and grow within the workforce.

With so many different types of positions open to people the type of skills required for different roles is endless from problem-solving, communications, interpersonal skills, customer service skills, strategic thinking and many more meaning that whatever your skill set it’s likely that you can find a position within financial services.

A start in this sector means you never stop learning. Constant innovation is commonplace and creates a fast-paced work-day.

From helping people to save, to securing a mortgage on a family’s dream home or planning for their future, those working in financial services directly help people of all backgrounds in achieving their own financial goals.

Who we are

LIA is a not-for-profit professional education and development association for people working in all areas of the Financial Services industry and Credit Union movement in Ireland.

Our membership has swelled to over 10,000 full members in recent years and we administer around 7,000 exam sittings every year in eight venues across the country.

Find out more

For more information on our course offering and how we can help you get a start into the world of Financial Services call us on 01 456 3890 or email

Information is regularly updated on our website Further information on LIA can also be found on Ireland’s Leading Career Guidance Website.

Download the latest LIA Information Brochure here [pdf]