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|►||Where to find Professional Advice|
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 John Traynor from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:
|This is a job that you must be really interested in to succeed in. At times the hours can be very long and the work can be very challenging. You must be prepared to put up with the hard work in order to get the real experience and career progress that the job can offer you. If you are not really interested in this work you will be letting yourself and your colleagues down.|
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I knew by the time I started studying for the Leaving Cert, that I did not want to work in an area related to the Sciences so accordingly, I did not take up any of the science subjects.
Personally, I have no regrets with my study choices. I enjoyed studying them, which I think is a vital factor, and I think they helped me entering the Civil Service, and continue to do so in terms of the fact that I have some understanding of the mechanics of the governmental and public system, even if it is often quite theoretical!
Subsequent to sitting my Leaving Cert, I attended University College Dublin and completed a Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics.
After a number of years - while working in banking - I studied by night for a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Studies.
In the last few years, I completed a full-time Master of Arts in European Studies at the Dublin European Institute, UCD.
Overall, my university education has been quite a valuable background resource for this job.
I studied Irish and European politics so I had a reasonably clear concept of the function of the Government, the Oireachtas and the Civil Service, from a theoretical point of view at least, if not quite in an operational sense of the word
Ongoing training is an important and ongoing feature within the performance management and development system of the Civil Service.
The Training Unit in the Department offers a very wide spectrum of courses on everything from MS Word, to time management, to presentation skills, to stress management to policy analysis.
I have already undertaken a number of courses in the Department this year. I have also just started studying for a Higher Diploma in Public Management in the Institute of Public Administration.
I think the first is possibly being granted special recognition and an award for my work in a previous organisation that I worked in, and being selected for mentoring for the Operations Director.
The second is achieving a First Class Honours in my Masters Degree.
The third is, obviously, being successful in getting the job as HEO!
I guess the main qualities that come to mind are, first of all, the fact that I always enjoy learning and trying something new.
I would say that I am quite a sociable person, and therefore enjoy working with, and building relationships with people.
I am also quite determined, and would over time, and with the proper experience, like to progress in my career in the Civil Service.
I think first of all the person must be a self-starter, capable of working as part of a team and on his/her own. The person must be capable of using their initiative to see tasks and projects through to completion.
Secondly, I think a person must have enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. You are dealing with a stream of new and diverse information from different sources on an ongoing basis.
Thirdly, I think it is important that the person has a genuine interest in, and desire to serve the public in this capacity. It is quite heartening for me, personally, to be able to contribute in some way to the improvement of our environment.
First, I would say that the person should give some thought to what Department they may be assigned to. If, for example, one has a particular interest in environmental issues, then obviously this Department is ideal for them.
The Departments in the Civil Service cover so many aspects of life, and economic and social activity that I think there is choice for everyone. I would also encourage people to think about why they are considering the job - do they see long-term career prospects in it, or maybe they see it as a means to make a contribution.
At the end of the day, service to the public is what a career in the Civil Service is about.
First of all, I think it is of definite benefit if the individual has some prior experience of working with teams, and managing people.
Secondly, I think it is equally beneficial if the person has had exposure to working with, and according to deadlines, as much of our reporting and the material for briefing can be required according to quite tight deadlines.