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Construction Industry Federation

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Donal Kane
Once you’re willing to listen, take advice and work hard there are many options for career paths / future development.

The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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Leisure, Sport & Fitness

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Leisure, Sport & Fitness

The Leisure, Sport and Fitness sector includes a wide range of activities from theme parks, cinemas and outdoor pursuits, to competitive sport, recreational sport, health and fitness activities. Sports media and sports tourism can also be included. 
careers in sport and leisure

The industry has expanded as people continue to become more health conscious and have more leisure time than in the past. Jobs across this industry have very different entry requirements. Some demand specific qualifications, while others require no formal qualification. The increasing professionalisation of sport, together with the regulation of the sector, means that experience of fitness techniques alone is not usually enough.

Opportunities with Irish in this Sector
Leisure Industry header image

The leisure industry includes entertainment and recreation, and a whole range of related products and services - cinema, horse riding, theme parks, betting shops, gaming casinos.

Leisure is a labour intensive service industry. The range of career opportunities available is wide and diverse. Most people who opt to work in this area have the aim of helping others to enjoy their leisure time.

Potential areas of work include:

  • Leisure centre or gymnasium - as a manager, assistant manager, lifeguard, personal trainer, fitness instructor or spa therapist [See Fitness]
  • Coaching, instructing, managing - health and fitness consultant, sports manager, horse riding, football and other sports clubs, outdoor activities, yoga or a specific sport
  • Entertainment - work in cinemas, horse-racing, theme parks, betting shops, casinos
  • Voluntary and Social - youth clubs, community centres

Employers in this sector include large leisure companies, leisure centres, theme parks, health and fitness clubs, hotels and sports clubs, sports arenas, colleges, cultural organisations, tour operators, local authorities, community centres, cinemas and music venues.

Working conditions vary according to the particular role. Some jobs are based indoors, in hotels, sports shops, gymnasiums, sports halls or cinemas, while others, such as horse riding instruction, outdoor activities in sports clubs or adventure centres are largely based outdoors. Some jobs will call for large amounts of physical training and activity. Many jobs in this sector will involve working irregular hours, shift work, evening work, weekend and bank holiday work.

The sector can offer the opportunity for promotion to supervisory or managerial levels. Sports people often move into business, or to jobs in media, broadcasting, or communications on retiring from their professional sport.

The sector offers plenty of opportunities to travel and work abroad (e.g. cruise ships) and in some jobs, it is possible to become self-employed.

Level 5 and 6 qualifications are an excellent entry route to the sector, for example, where a specific set of skills is required in order to do the job (i.e. Health and Fitness instructor). 

Third level degrees are increasingly valuable, for example where business and mangement aspects of the activity are called for such as  Leisure Centre Management. Level 8 Honours Degree programmes in Sports Science, Sports Engineering or Business and Sports Management open up many opprtunities.

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Sport header image

The level of interest in both following sport, and in participating in sport has never been greater. Popular sports Ireland include Angling, Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Camogie, Canoeing, GAA, Golf, Gymnastics, Handball, Ice Hockey, Horse Riding, Judo, Mountaineering, Sailing, Soccer, Squash, Pitch & Putt, Rugby, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis and Wind Surfing, among dozens of others.

The increased professionalism of sport and the growing scientific approach to fitness, together with the incredible growth of events like the Olympic Games, Special Olympics, The World Cup and other such sporting events ensures continued demand for a wide range of sport-related job roles.

There are more than 38,000 people employed in the sports sector alone in Ireland, according to the Irish Federation of Sport, representing approximatley 2% of the total national workforce. 

Source: Federation of Irish Sport 
The commercial side of the sport sector accounts for 8,134 jobs (21%) of the total. There are a futher 8,826 jobs (23%) in the voluntary sport sector. The supply of goods and services into the sports sector accounts for close to 15,000 jobs. 

Sport divides into Competitive sport and Recreational sport.

  • Recreational sport can include organised sporting activities along with recreational activities such as walking,  jogging and yoga.
  • Competitive sport includes all forms of physical activity aimed at improving physical fitness and obtaining improved results in competition at all levels - amateur and professional, local, national and international - football, horseriding, golf, rally driving. 
The Sport Horse Industry

The sport horse industry in Ireland is worth over €700 million annually and employs some 12,000 people. Horse Breeding is the largest area, followed by competition and the leisure sector.

Ireland is home to 124,000 Irish sport horses and has an international reputation as an expert leader in the equestrian world. Irish equine companies also supply products and services across the spectrum from nutrition, biotech and engineering to equipment, apparel and medicines.

The competition sector accounts for 10,345 registered sport horses and contributes €135 million to the economy 

The Leisure sector of the horse industry includes the four components of equestrian centres, recreation and showing and hunting.  The leisure sector accounts for approximately 36,000 registered sport horses and contributes some €119 million to the economy. The leisure sector includes activities such as hunting, country shows, inter-school competitions and riding club and pony club competition. Amateur level activities can often fulfil the role of schooling ground for young horses that may in time progress to professional level.

Activities such as showing are engaged in at professional level by some producers. the Irish sport horse provide employment, trade, sport and enjoyment, but the Irish sport horse is a vital cog for tourism in Ireland. Fáilte Ireland approved equestrian centres offer a range of horse-riding options, from beach treks and leisurely hacks, to cross-country jumping and multi-day trips.

"The mission of the Army Equitation School is to promote Ireland, the Defence Forces and the Irish Bred Horse through participation in International events at the highest level."

Read more about the Army equitation School here.

A current strategic aim is to develop young people as horse breeders and producers and as the international competitors of the future and to increase participation in all aspects of the sport horse industry. 

Teagasc courses currently provided include horsemanship skills training and breeding courses. 

Teagasc in partnership with Horse Sport Ireland provide training for young people aged 14-25 years through the ‘Young Breeders Programme’ on areas including assessment of conformation and athleticism traits and presenting horses in hand. Opportunities are provided through the young breeders programme for interaction with industry professionals and experts. The equine specialists will also play a key role in the roll out and delivery of the upcoming Knowledge Transfer Equine Programme (K.T.E.).

Teagasc provide full time equine education through its Level 5 and Level 6 FETAC certified equine courses at Kildalton Agricultural College.

Horse Racing

The significant prize money drives international competitiveness in the racing industry. Ireland is recognised as a world centre of excellence for horse racing and breeding. 

Careers in Sport

Countless support roles are associated with sport from coach to golf caddie, personal trainer to personal chef, sports psychologist to promoter and manager and many, many more.

Organisational roles include Promotional officers with the GAA, outdoor education instructor and development officer with the Local Sports Partnerships. Sports equipment sales and even sports journalism.

Source: EY
Career Success

Sporting involvement can contribute hugely to career sucess. A background of sporting achievement is viewed as a demonstration of the strong work ethic that is required to succeed in business.

Job applicants with a sporting background are valued for their work ethic, and seen to be very determined and as good team players.  

Participation in sport is also seen by employers to have a significant role in developing or improving leadership skills and ability to see projects through to completion; motivational skills; and team building.

Candidates with a background in sport are usually very competitive - a trait that is highly valued in many occupations.

All those who are working with children or vulnerable persons, including the provision of leisure, sporting or physical activities, require Garda Vetting. This is typically part of the recruitment process.
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Fitness header image

The fitness industry is booming. The sector includes gyms, health & fitness clubs and recreational sports facilities - all forms of physical leisure activities aimed at improving physical fitness and mental wellbeing, as well as forming social relationships. 

The number and variety of leisure and fitness centres has increased significantly in recent years, with huge diversity in the types of services offered:

  • Fitness centers, health clubs and gyms
  • Aerobic dance and exercise centers
  • Yoga, pilates
  • Recreational sports club facilities
  • Spas
  • Badminton, squash and tennis clubs
  • Athletic club facilities
  • Swimming pools

The popularity of gym, health and fitness clubs has grown hugely in recent years as more and more individuals see fitness as integral to their personal health. 

Public health initiatives highlight the role of exercise in fighting obesity, diabetes and other health issues.

Population growth, particularly among the 20+ age group contributes to the growth of the gym-going demographic.Smaller facilities typically offer a gym and changing rooms, but bigger operations may provide a full suite of sports and leisure activities, equipment, swimming pool, treatment rooms, classes and training courses and even a bar and catering facilities.

Career opportunities
The fitness industry offers lots of career opportunities for a variety of personality types, aspirations, skill sets and interests. Careers in this area additionally include the management of these facilities and fitness instruction, as well as sales of fitness equipment. 

Level 5 and 6 qualifications are an excellent entry route to the sector, for example, where a specific set of skills is required in order to do the job (i.e. Health and Fitness Instructor or Personal Trainer). The number of people in these occupations is expected to increase. 

Third level degrees are increasingly valuable, for example where business and mangement aspects of the activity are called for such as  Leisure Centre Management. Level 8 Honours Degree programmes in Sports Science, Sports Engineering or Business and Sports Management open up many opprtunities.

HealthTech in the Fitness Industry

Technology has seen the fitness industry undergo a massive transformation. Gym users remain motivated with the help of new technology, for example, interactive workout programs incorporated into gym equipment are helping exercisers track mileage, speed, number of workouts, calorie burn, and more.

But that's not all. A simple search in the app store under ‘fitness’ unveils a huge variety of apps to help with fitness. Are these fitness apps doing fitness trainers out of a job? The answer seems to be no - most people still feel the need to connect with a professional. Apps enhance the traditional gym experience, but do not replace it.

Tech giant IBM recently revealed that it has joined hands with sports gear maker Under Armour Inc. to “create and provide meaningful data-backed health and fitness insights” powered by IBM Watson. The collaboration with Irish medtech company Medtronic, was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2016 where it demonstrated an app developed for diabetics.

The app will apply cognitive computing to data from Medtronic devices (glucose monitors and insulin pumps) and other information sources such as GPS, wearable activity trackers, and calendar details. The solutions will one day enable Medtronic to provide real-time insights and coaching to help people understand the impact of daily activities on their diabetes and make adjustments as needed.

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