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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Dublin City University 
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Dublin City University (DCU) is a young, dynamic and innovative university, situated on an 85 acre campus three miles from the city centre and just a 10-minute drive from Dublin airport. Located in the Whitehall and Drumcondra areas on Dublin's northside it is ideally located just off the M50 motorway with the city centre just a 15-minute bus journey away. Students of DCU have the best of both worlds; the social and cultural benefits of city life, but with the security and vibrancy of a university campus built very much for today.

DCU has five different campuses;  Glasnevin campus, Drumcondra (St Patricks) campus, All Hallows campus, Sports campus and the Alpha (Business Innovation) campus. The students get benefit of the use of all facilities across all campuses.

DCU has five seperate faculties (schools); Science and HealthHumanities and Social SciencesEngineering and ComputingBusiness School and the Institute of Education with 69 degree programmes on offer.

The first students came through the doors in 1980 and in 1989 was awarded university status. It is now recognised nationally and internationally as a centre of academic and sporting excellence. Now with over 50,000 graduates and a current student population of 16,000 it is now Ireland's fastest growing university and is placed in the top 50 young universitys in the world. DCU prides itself on the range of its facilities, both academic and recreational for its domestic and international students.

DCU was the first university in Ireland to introduce work placement (INTRA) as part of its degree programmes. The aim is for students to put their academic skills into practice in the work environment (before they graduate) which enables them to gain invaluable experience to inform future career decisions. DCU students have opportunities study at universities across the world including Spain, USA, France, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, Australia, Scotland and Austria as part of their degree programmes under the Erasmus exchange agreements. 70% of students take part in work placement or study abroad.

DCU has over 120 clubs and societies which cater for students passions, skills, hobbies and interests. The university actively supports students in participating in other interests outside of their course which allows them to meet people from all different courses and broaden their college experience as a whole. If you want to see more of what the clubs and societes do you can watch their 2016 showcase video.

  QQI/FET Admission Information available here.  

The John and Aileen O'Reilly library is the focal point of the Glasnevin campus with the new Cregan library built in 2015 on the St Patricks Drumcondra campus.  It is symbolic of the importance the university places on knowledge and learning, and the technology for acquiring information. The libraries have over 1,500 seats, over 25 collaborative rooms where students can study in groups. There are 500 computer workstations, all of which are connected to the Internet with wifi also available all across campuses. 

The accommodation service provides 995 undergraduate rooms and 105 postgraduate rooms in four residential apartment blocks on the Glasnevin campus with 200 rooms on the St Patricks campus. There are three different types of accommodation. Standard, Superior and Deluxe. All the rooms available to the students are equipped with services such as wifi/ broadband internet connections. Accommodation is also available for conference attendees and groups during the summer months. In addition to academic schools and some support units being located on the All Hallows campus it will also provide much needed accommodation with the bed numbers increasing over time.

The Hub (The student centre)
The Hub is the social centre of student-based activities and services. The student union is based here, as well as other services such as ticket master, bookshop, pool tables, hairdressers, recreational areas and venues for student events. This is a vibrant and energetic place for students to meet, socialise and make friends.

In 2016 DCU launched major campus redevelopments, with the Hub (student centre) benefitting from a brand new €14 million building specifically. 

Sports Facilities
The sports facilities that are provided on the DCU campuses are world class. Indoor and outdoor facilities are available for all students to use on our dedicated sports campus where there are five sports pitches; one is a 3g astro with two of them having floodlights also. There is a 25m swimming pool with sauna, steam room and tepiderium facilities, along with an indoor sports arena, astro pitches, squash courts, a 100 piece cardiovascular area and gym on our Glasnevin and St Patricks campus.

Sporting activity as a whole is encouraged across each campus. Whether you just want to use the swiming pool or you want to join a team or individual take part in individual activities such as aerobic fitness , weight-training, rock-climbing and athletics. Friendly trainers are always on hand in the Sports Complex to advise our students and  there is a number of fitness classes to take part in (for both beginners and more experienced people). DCU has trainers available for students with disabilities whereby students can use all the facilities and can take part in team sports.

DCU Connected
DCU Connected has been providing distance courses to Irish adults since 1982. No previous qualifications are required for undergraduate courses for adults over 23 years of age. DCU connected flexible system of educational delivery and support is an attractive option for people who, because of other commitments or distance, cannot attend full-time university courses. Connected offers its students a unique opportunity to achieve an Irish university qualification without having to forfeit other commitments that they may have. You can contact the team by clicking here.

Disability Service

DCU aims to promote equality of access for learners with disabilities, specific learning difficulties and on-going medical conditions in DCU. In line with best practice guidelines the DCU disability service coordinate a range of supports for students who are registered with the service to ensure they have equity of access to their studies.

Access Service
DCU have a strong tradition of creating equality of access to third level education for students from groups currently under-represented in higher education. The DCU Community are proud to have pioneered Ireland’s first ever Third Level Access Route and are committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of their social, cultural or financial means, have the right and the opportunities to engage and succeed in education.

The Helix
DCU is home to Ireland's largest arts centre, having a capacity for over 1,250 people. The Helix consists of a Concert Hall, Theatre, Studio Theatre, Exhibition Area, Artists in Residence Studios and full support spaces. Each year The Helix hosts a wide range of conferences, musical, theatrical and dance performances to suit every taste. Various TV shows each year, most notably The Voice of Ireland and Take Me Out, are filmed on campus.

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