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 Paul Dowling from Teagasc to give some advice for people considering this job:

Paul Dowling

Horticulturist

Teagasc

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Paul Dowling
Ideally, try and get a job in the industry for a summer, or get a bit of experience before you go into it. You have to be happy with working outside, and doing physical work. If you are not prepared to work hard or are looking for a soft job, don't go into Landscaping. Design is very sexy at the moment, everyone wants to be a designer, a Landscape Designer. It's different on the ground, you have to be out there on sites in all weather and you have to make sure projects are managed well and you're able to muck in with everyone else. Biology is most important for anyone going into Horticulture or Landscaping as it covers propagation and helps with the identification of plant names, species and families through the universal use of Latin. Chemistry is also helpful as the use of various chemicals is a constant in horticulture. The chemical content and dangers of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides in use in Amenity Horticulture needs to be understood anyone going into this business. Geography would be a relevant subject as well. Also, the simple things like having a full, clean driving licence, which can make you a lot more employable if you are trying for a job with a Landscape Conractor. This indicates that you are more mobile and can also drive a company van if needed. Be sure you're happy with the outdoor life. Having taken a Horticulture course will give you an advantage. However, it's possible to take a job first and study later, e.g. in IT Blanchardstown it is possible to study at night. I think you cannot beat doing the Diploma Course in the National Botanic Gardens because it is a good practical course which also covers all the theory and is invaluable for gaining plant knowledge.
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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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The Leaving Certificate

The Leaving Cert continues where the Junior Cert leaves off. The most common Leaving Cert Programme is the Leaving Cert Established (LCE) and it runs for two years.

Subjects are normally studied at either Ordinary or Higher Level. Two subjects, Irish and Mathematics, can be studied at Foundation Level. Foundation Level is geared to the needs of students who might have difficulty with those subjects at Ordinary or Higher Level.

The three core subjects of English, Maths and Irish are generally compulsary for LCE. Each school will offer a number of optional subjects to choose from as well. Students usually take between six to eight subjects, and sometimes more.

Choosing which optional subjects to study enables you to focus your attention on areas that interest you. For example, would you prefer to focus on business or science subjects - or a combination of both? Sometimes the subjects you choose for the leaving cert can influence your choice of college course after school. This is because some college courses require you to have taken certain leaving cert subjects, and even certain grades in these subjects, in order to be accepted on the course.

Visit Leaving Cert Subjects for useful information that will help you with these decisions.

Alternatives to the Leaving Cert Established (LCE)

Some students opt to do the Leaving Cert Vocational Programme (LCVP) or the Leaving Cert Applied (LCA).

LCVP has extra career preparation and enterprise subjects. LCVP students take at least five subjects. These include English, Irish, plus two subjects from specified vocational subject groupings, and a Modern European language (other than Irish or English). LCVP students also take three Link Modules on Enterprise Education, Preparation for Work and Work Experience. 

LCA is strongly 'vocational' which means that it's more job and employment focused. The subject areas are more practical than academic. This is a great option for students who may prefer not to go directly to college when they finish school, although many continue their education using the Further Education & Training (FET) route.


What are your Career Interests?

Investigative
Investigative
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.

  Go... Explore Career Interests here...