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 Sinead Kenny from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:
If it is possible to get some work experience during the summer holidays or weekends, it would be great. Find out if there are any positions (voluntary or otherwise) available in your local IT or University. Get involved in a hobby such as model making, this would be very helpful as it would help with dexterity & impart an understanding of the ways in which different materials interact when assembled together.
What are your interests?
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while 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.
Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...
These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.
Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.
Employment Opportunities The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 4658 students who sat the Ordinary Level Geography exam in 2018.
Geography is the study of people, their environment, and the interaction between the two. The course follows from Junior Cert Geography, and covers very similar topics (such as rocks, soils, oceans, population movements, map-reading, and economic activities) in a lot more detail. There are a large number of optional sections on the course, allowing students to focus on the sections of the course which they like.
Why Study this?
What kind of student might Geography suit?
Students considering further study in areas such as geography, economics, environmental science, or politics.
Students who achieved solid results for Junior Cert Geography.
Students must think abstractly and in 3-D (Be careful about studying Geography if you have any problems with this).
Videos & Interviews
Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Skipper - Liz O'Toole
My choice of subjects didn’t directly affect my career path but Geography helped. You only needed a junior cert when I chose my career, although I did the Leaving Cert. I did the Deckhand Course to start which included safety training and an introduction to most of the skills required. Most training is done on the job. I then did the 2nd hand full certificate of competency (Skipper) which you needed to start as a Skipper on a boat. I don’t think I would have changed my education choices.
In school I was limited by the amount of subjects offered. I went to an all girl's convent school and they had pretty much the stereotypical girl's school subjects then.
For my optional subjects I did Geography, H&E Social and Scientific and Biology. I had all the regular subjects too. English, Irish, Maths and French. I think it's fairly obvious from the above list that my subjects didn't have much of a influence over my third level education choices.
If subjects like physics, engineering etc., had been on offer, I think I would have taken them instead but they were not available to me. I don't believe choices made in school about subjects always have to dictate what you do in college. In my case it just meant I had to work a little harder in the first year of college to catch up.
My school subjects never stopped me. If you know what you like and what you want do, you will always find a way. To be honest it's the knowing what you like that's harder, there are lots of paths to achieve what you want in education today.
In school I studied Geography, German, History and Economics along with the three core subjects. Geography is the only subject that has influenced by career as it was my elective subject in college and I am now teaching it along with PE. You need to consider the subject choices available with PE in your chosen course and college as it will be affected by your chosen subjects at leaving cert.
For GCSE I studied Maths, Additional Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geography, English Language and Literature and German.
For A-Level I took Maths, Chemistry and Biology. I chose these subjects primarily because I was good at them and also because I enjoyed them. The school I attended was very academic and I always knew my future career would involve science of some description so the choices I made were logical.
I do regret not continuing on with art, although at the time I wasn't sure I could spare the time to commit to an extra subject that wasn't really going to come in useful. I guess you just have to weigh up costs and benefits. I found it very helpful to have a good grasp of statistics and pure maths as these topics came up quite alot during the pharmacy degree.
If you are thinking of taking a degree in pharmacy make sure you look at the admission requirements in good time as they can be quite specific and I know the grades are increasing every year so you need to be sure you are capable of making the grades.
In school we had to choose our Leaving Cert subjects just before the Junior Cert. At this stage I had no idea what I wanted to do as a profession but I knew I wanted to go to College.
In order to keep my options open I chose a mix of subjects to include one language, one science subject and one business subject. In addition to the obligatory English, Irish & Maths I therefore studied French, Biology, Geography & Accounting. I chose these particular subjects as I had an interest in them at Junior Cert level.
I suppose Biology was the most relevant of my subjects when I started college as there was some overlap with Anatomy and Physiology. We also studied research and statistics in college which were Maths related.
I had always wanted to be in a uniformed service of some sort, first preference as a fireman, then the armed services or the police but I have an eye condition that rules me out of these jobs.
So during school I had no idea what I wanted to do and I was not the most academic of people so I chose the subjects that I was better at and would stand me the best chance of good grades.
I did not really choose to follow this career path until I was 25. I had been to university once to do a Coaching Science degree as I was heavily involved in swimming and water polo coaching but this just did not suit me and I dropped out in my first year. So going back a second time as a mature student was a big decision and because I was a mature student they look at you a little differently to entry requirement and take into consideration life experience.
So at the time it was having maths and english plus experience working in sports coaching groups that I think were the main factors. Even the fact that the course had a lot of geography and I had dropped this subject when I was 14 or so, did not go against me and the first year of the course is there to get yourself acquainted with the subject again.
So in hindsight I was lucky enough that my subject choices in school did not affect my current career.
I did Geography, Business studies and German in school. To be honest these subjects didn’t have an influence as I had always wanted to be a Garda. At least now I can speak a few words of German if needed.
Geography is a very popular subject choice. Up to 20% of the final grade is achieved before sitting the actual examination by completing a report on a geographical investigation - this is a great advantage for students.
The syllabus is divided into 4 main units. All students study the Core Units 1-3 and Elective Unit 4:
Core Unit 1 - Patterns and processes in the physical environment This unit examines the relationship between the tectonic cycle, the rock cycle and the processes of landform development.
Core Unit 2 - Regional geography This unit examines how economic, human and physical processes interact in regional settings.
Core Unit 3 - Geographical investigation and skills This unit encourages the development of skills in handling spatial information leading to the completion of an individual geographical investigation.
Elective Unit 4 - Patterns and processes in the economic environment This unit examines patterns in economic development and the growth of a single interdependent global economy.
Higher Level Students taking the Higher Level also study Optional Unit 6 Global Interdependence. This unit examines the interdependent nature of global economic, social and political processes and challenges the differing views of development
Geographical skills The teaching and application of skills is integrated into each of the units where appropriate - Map and aerial photograph interpretation - Satellite imagery - Figure interpretation - Census of population data - Weather maps and data.
Leaving Certificate Geography is assessed at Ordinary and Higher level in ascending order of difficulty. There are two assessment components:
Written Examination (80%)
Geographical Investigation Report (20%)
Students complete two questions on the core units, one question on an elective unit, and one question on an optional unit.
1. Patterns and processes in the physical environment 2. Regional geography 3. Geographical investigation
Two Elective Units (pick one)
4. Patterns and processes in economic activities 5. Patterns and processes in the human environment
Four Optional Units (pick one; higher level only):
6. Global interdependence 7. Geoecology 8. Culture and identity 9. The Atmosphere-Ocean environment
The teaching of geographical skills is an important element of the course; students are encouraged to improve their ability to gather information (from map-reading, statistics, charts), present information (using diagrams, maps, and writing), and evaluate information (separate fact from opinion, make informed judgements, propose sensible solutions to problems). These skills are assessed in the Geographical Investigation.
Geography can be studied at third level as a science subject, or as an arts subject.
It is useful in a wide variety of careers such as cartography, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), town planning, environmental science, engineering, travel/tourism, meteorology/weather forecasting and in global/development work.