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 Lynsey Gargan from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:

Lynsey Gargan

Manufacturing Engineer


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Lynsey Gargan
With regard to education I say don't worry if you think you have the wrong subjects in school. I certainly didn't have the subjects you would typically expect.

There are a number of courses that cater to different backgrounds. The most important thing is to do your research. Go to open days, talk to the colleges and generally just find out what exactly you would be getting in to.

Don't just take for granted you know what a certain course or career is all about. Think about what you like to do, and not just necessarily in school, if you find yourself being curious about how things work or how thing are made, it's a good indication that you could like something like engineering.

One of the best things about engineering is that it really can be your passport to the world. There are great travel opportunities within the industry and chances to be involved in the next big thing.

Practically every man-made product around you came from a manufacturing plant, it's a huge industry with a lot of different avenues to take. Innovation is a really big part of what engineers do. The desire to be creative and improve production and processes is an important attribute for a manufacturing engineer.

The Linguistic's interests are usually focused on ideas and information exchange. They tend to like reading a lot, and enjoy discussion about what has been said. Some will want to write about their own ideas and may follow a path towards journalism, or story writing or editing. Others will develop skills in other languages, perhaps finding work as a translator or interpreter. Most Linguistic types will enjoy the opportunity to teach or instruct people in a topic they are interested in.
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What are the different (undergraduate entry) courses run by the Hotel School?

Level 8 GA 380 BA (Hons) Hotel & Catering Management – a four year honours business degree that is recognised by the Dept of Education and Science as suitable for those wishing to teach business and accountancy subjects in secondary school subject to gaining appropriate teaching qualifications. A twelve week work placement in Ireland completes year one of the programme, and a thirty week international work placement in Europe/USA/Australia follows at the end of year 2.

Level 7 GA 370 BBs Hotel & Catering Management – a three year degree in hotel and catering management that allows students to study in practical kitchens/restaurants and academic classes.  A twelve week work placement in Ireland complete year one of the programme and students undertake a thirty week international work placement in Europe/USA/Australia in January of the second year.

Level 7 (apply direct to college) BBs Hotel & Catering Management BLOCK RELEASE – a three year degree in hotel and catering management that allows students with previous relevant industry experience an opportunity to study in practical and academic classes and work in the hospitality industry.  Students spend one semester in college and another in industry.  Students must be affiliated to an approved hotel prior to joining the college, however if you have industry experience and wish to gain a formal management qualification this may be the programme for you!

Level 7 GA 374 BBs Tourism Management – a new three year degree offering students an opportunity to better understand and develop a wide awareness of the exciting world-wide tourism industry.  This programme is offered in conjunction with our colleagues in the Business School.  A thirty week international work placement in Europe/USA/Australia begins in January of year 2. This experience allows students an opportunity to develop language skills, cultural understanding and awareness and participate in an exciting international environment.

Level 7 GA 373 BBS Bar Management – an exciting three year degree offering students an opportunity to gain skills, knowledge and competencies necessary to pursue a career in the Bar/Licensed trade.  A thirty week international work placement in Europe/USA/Australia follows at the end of year 2.

Level 7 GA 372 BBs Culinary Arts – an opportunity for students to consider a career in the culinary arts environment and gain a business degree at the same time.  This three year degree allows students to gain invaluable business knowledge and practical competencies in areas such as culinary leadership, gastronomy, and product development, to name but a few.  A thirty week international work placement in Europe/USA/Australia follows at the end of year 2 - an invaluable experience to add to your CV.

Level 7 GA 375 BBs Retail and Customer Service Management – a three year degree offering students the essential skills and knowledge to follow a career in the exciting retail sector.  A variety of subjects are covered including retail operations, financial accounting, customer service, merchandising design and e-tailing.  A thirty week work placement in Europe/USA/Australia follows at the end of year 2, and graduates can expect to work as supervisors, and eventually leading managers in small and medium retail outlets upon successful completion of the award.

Level 7 GA 376 BBs Event Management with Public Relations – a new three year degree offering students an insight into, and an opportunity to experience the world of event management!  This exciting programme will cover a number of key business areas including event planning, project management, business law, financial accounting and event public relations.  A thirty week work placement in Europe/USA/Australia follows at the end of year 2, and graduates can expect to work in a number of different sectors in the tourism industry

Level 6 GA 361 Higher Certificate in Culinary Arts (was known as Advanced Certificate in Professional Cookery) – a two year programme for those with a passion for and interest in culinary arts and food.  If you want to become Ireland’s next ‘top chef’, this is the programme for you and this is the school in which to learn these skills.  In 2007, Fáilte Ireland awarded this department the title of ‘Beacon Centre of Excellence for Culinary Education in Ireland’ – a reflection of the excellent work carried out by our lecturing team and students.  This course requires a lot of hard work and dedication but the rewards are endless.  Various work placements elements are available in this award.

Level 6 GA 362 Higher Certificate in Hospitality Studies (was known as Advanced Certificate in Tourism Hospitality Skills – an exciting and multi skilled programme allowing students to study various aspects of hotel operations and gain key skills and knowledge essential for employment in the industry. Students will study a variety of subjects and this exciting programme can lead to positions in hotels, restaurant, bars, tourist outlets and progression to level seven awards. A work placement at the end of year one is a mandatory component for all students.

Level 6 GA 360 Higher Certificate in Tourism (was known as Advanced Certificate in Tourism and Business) – this two year programme has been described as truly unique and innovative in the many skills, knowledge and opportunities it provides for all learners. The philosophy of this programme focuses on providing learners with the knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for effective work within the tourism sector, while affording them the opportunity of access and progression to a wide range of alternative employments (e.g. Travel Advisors, Tourist Information Officers) and further educational choices.

Level 6 GA 363 Higher Certificate in Bar Supervision (was known as Advanced Certificate in Bar) – this programme provides students with an opportunity to develop advanced food and beverage supervisory skills. Speak to our team for more information on this exciting programme which allows for practical skills classes in the Wine Geese Training Bar, Connemara Training Restaurant & City of Galway Training Restaurant in addition to regular academic classes. A work placement at the end of year one is a mandatory component for all students.

What facilities does the department have to support these courses?
In addition to the many facilities GMIT offers all students the Hotel School have access to excellent training facilities. The school has two training restaurants – The City of Galway Restaurant and The Connemara Training Restaurant.

The school is also home to ten training kitchens with specialisms in larder, patisserie, product development and kitchen production. In addition the school has two training bars – the IQ bar & the Wine Geese Training Bar.

For practical laboratory sessions accommodating food science and food hygiene practical’s students will find several modern and well equipped labs which supports all aspects of their work.

What connections does the department have with Industry?
The Hotel School has been very lucky over the years in that we have developed an excellent and vibrant working relationship with the tourism industry both on a national and international level. Many of our programme have work placement opportunities and this allows for interaction with industry colleagues.

In addition the school opened the Links Office in August 2008. This office works closely with industry to manage and plan all work placements and career opportunities. In addition graduates in industry are very supportive of our students and these links and relationships have helped us develop excellent working opportunities in all five continents.
(See our website for graduate profile and further updates on this topic

How many students do you accept each year on these courses?

  • Level 8 GA 380 BA (Hons) – 35 places
  • Level 7 GA 370 BBs  – 50 places
  • Level 7 BBs (BLOCK RELEASE) –30 places 
  • Level 7 GA 374 BBs  – 35 places
  • Level 7 GA 373 BBS  – 32 places
  • Level 7 GA 372 BBs  – 32 places
  • Level 7 GA 375 BBs  – 40 places
  • Level 7 GA 376 BBs  – 45 places
  • Level 6 GA 361  – 48 places
  • Level 6 GA 362  – 20 places
  • Level 6 GA 360  – 20 places
  • Level 6 GA 363  – 20 places

Where did last years graduates go?
In 2009 39 % of students progressed to further studies, 43 % went in to full time employment, 4% travelled outside of Ireland and 14 % were seeking employment.

Why should students choose the Hotel School at GMIT?
Joining the Hotel School at GMIT is your first step in pursuing a career in the expanding and dynamic world of Tourism. Few careers provide students with an opportunity to study and gain invaluable skills whilst in practical classes and when on work placement in many different locations around the world. The first degree in Hotel Management in Ireland was awarded from this school in 1977 and many national and international tourism leaders are graduates of this school.

Why should students choose GMIT?
GMIT provides an exciting and fast paced life for all students. Out of lectures students have an opportunity to join the Student Union and this body organises many excellent activities and clubs open to all. In addition the S.U. supports many civic engagement models and this opportunity allows students to work and develop community relationships, a key skill we believe all learners should experience. In addition Galway is a vibrant and pulsating city to live in. There is no end to the number of  festivals, entertainment venues and outdoor pursuits for students to immerse themselves in and Galway is a very welcoming city to the many students who choose to study here.


CAO Course Details 9
GA380 - International Hotel Management
GA370 - Hotel and Catering Management
GA377 - International Tourism Management
GA971 - Furniture and Wood Technology (Letterfrack)
GA375 - Retail Management
GA376 - Event Management with Public Relations
GA361 - Culinary Arts
GA362 - Hotel and Hospitality Operations
GA360 - Business in Tourism