Three organisations currently provide forestry education and skills training courses in Ireland. These courses are full time, and are aimed at preparing students for a career in the forestry sector.
11.5% of Ireland is under forest, supporting a vibrant and export-oriented forest products sector. The forest industry comprising, growing, harvesting and processing of forest products makes a significant and growing contribution to the Irish economy.
You have options available in Ireland to study forestry at all levels, for one to four years. Start by reading the information provided on the courses in Teagasc, UCD and WIT.
Aine Ni Dhubhain is currently a lecturer in Forestry at UCD. Aine is also involved in a number of research projects and writes papers for scientific journals.
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
The main one was deciding that I really enjoyed lecturing and preparing material for lectures. This was despite the fact that I had initially decided to do forestry so as not to end up being a teacher like the rest of my siblings. Once I got the buzz from lecturing I decided that was something I would like to continue to do.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
How did you go about getting your current job?
There was an element of luck; of being in the right place at the right time. When I was studying for my PhD I did some teaching in UCD. Then I got a job as a researcher in UCD and continued to teach a number of forestry courses. I was doing that when a lecturing vacancy came up; I applied for it and got the job.
Describe a typical day?
During the time of the year that undergraduate students are in UCD, around half of my time is spent preparing for and delivering lectures, otherwise I am working on research projects; for the remainder of the year I would spend all my time supervising post-graduate students undertaking research and writing papers.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
The main tasks associated with my job are devising and delivering lectures on a number of subjects to students studying forestry in UCD. I am also involved in a number of research projects; I source funding for the research, and supervise postgraduate students while they undertake the research. I also write research papers for scientific journals.
What are the main challenges?
Most of my work involves dealing with students, both undergraduate and postgraduate. It can be very rewarding to help a student understand some element of the course that they have difficulty with; in particular with postgraduate students it is rewarding to see them evolve into independent researchers. Finally seeing a paper that you have co-written published in an international scientific journal is also “cool”.
What's not so cool?
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
In addition to the usual subjects (i.e. Irish, English, French and Maths) I studied Biology, Chemistry and History. To be honest my choice of subject did not influence my career path. Almost all my siblings were teachers and I wanted to do something different, so I choose forestry as I knew no-one who was a forester. In the end I have ended up as a teacher.
What is your education to date?
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
The road to becoming a lecturer is quite long; you need to have at least PhD as well as an undergraduate degree; you would also need to have experience of working as a researcher in research projects so it can take quite a while to reach a stage where you might be considered for a lecturer’s position. So patience is required.
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
Organisational skills are important; those funding research expect that deadlines are met regarding producing research results etc.; so often these deadlines coincide with demands for teaching so it is important to be very organised. For the teaching element of the job it is important that the material that has to be covered in the individual lectures and in the course overall has to be presented in an engaging and informative way. To do any job well I think you have to enjoy it.
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?