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.

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Linguistic?
Linguistic
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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Guide to LC Subject Choices

Selecting the right subjects for senior cycle, and the level at which to take them, is a critical task faced by 60,000 second-level students every year. Making the wrong choice at this stage can have unintended consequences in two years’ time - certain paths into college may be blocked by not having the particular subjects required for entry to a chosen course. 

Video: Studying STEM subjects in school and college and their importance for Irish industry. 

There are good reasons why students tend to have a science subject and a third language in their arsenal and, as you will find out if you read on, there are no “soft” options on the Leaving Cert exam.

Career Choices 
When you are considering which subjects to take for the Leaving Cert, bear in mind that this decision will have long-term consequences on what careers are open to you. A decision to drop all science subjects or continental languages will have major implications on the career choices open, or closed to you later on. 

The same does not apply to business subjects, as most business courses teach all subjects with the presumption that students know nothing. If a student is making subject choices and has not yet decided what career they wish to follow after school, it is advisable to keep all their options open by taking a science and continental language subject from among their four optional subjects. 

Languages

Many colleges require students to hold pass grades in languages for matriculation. These include all NUI colleges, Trinity College Dublin and University of Limerick (UL). These institutions require entrants to hold a pass in English, Irish and a third European language, or English and another language. Dublin City University requires entrants to hold a pass in maths and English or Irish. Students may qualify for an exemption from these requirements if they have a learning difficulty or if they were born outside of the state.

Choose Subjects you Enjoy 

Always pick the subjects you enjoy and are good at. It is much more difficult to do well in a subject you are less interested in. Never choose a subject because your friends are choosing it or because you like the teacher. Picking a subject you enjoy and are naturally good at will decrease the pressure and allow you to excel and reach your full potential. 

The Most Important Piece of Advice 

A pass in ordinary level maths is essential for entry to the majority of courses. The 5,000 students who fail to secure a grade D in ordinary level are in a particularly difficult situation. A further 5,000 students each year now choose foundation level maths, and there is a growing number of colleges and courses that offer places to students who secure a minimum of a grade A or B in maths at this level. Whatever you do over the next two years, don’t neglect your studies in this subject.



Colm Hofler
Chemical Engineer