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 Dave McDonald from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


Dave McDonald


Smart Futures

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  Dave McDonald

A caring attitude is essential for Health and Safety – you need to be passionate about getting the message across to people and telling them why it is so important. After all, no-one wants to see anyone suffer harm or be in pain.

For astronomy, a yearning for answering the unanswered questions is a must. You also need to be dedicated and focused and not put off by the weather


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Unemployed - What Next?

The information below provides an overview of some frequently asked questions in relation to applying to the Department of Social Protection for social welfare entitlements when you are unemployed.

What do I do when I become unemployed?


How do I qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit payment?


Made Redundant - Will the amount of my redundancy payment affect my rate of benefit?


How much will I get paid on Jobseeker's?


What happens if I don’t have enough PRSI contributions paid to qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit?


How often will I have to sign on for my unemployment payment?


Will I be entitled to any other supports now that I am unemployed?


Is the procedure the same if I am only reducing my hours worked?


Who pays for Bank Holidays when I am working reduced hours?


I am self-employed but my income and work has drastically reduced in the past six months. Can I claim Jobseeker’s Allowance?


I need more information for my particular situation. Where can I get it?


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ask the experts
  Hint: Defence Forces

Each year from December to February, Air Corps cadetships are advertised on National TV and the National Newspapers. Applications for this can be found online or by applying to the Defence Force competitions section.

I applied by sending for an application form and filling it in. The applications are generally due in at the end of Febuaury (the online applications are more popular now). Within one month of applying, I received a letter inviting me for fitness testing at Baldonnel. Details for the fitness test can be found in the Cadetship booklet, which is available online/career days/Defence Force competition section.

On passing my fitness test I was invited to attend a preliminary interview. This was with 3 air corps personnel and took place in Baldonnel also. This was a competency based interview, details of which is in the cadetship booklet. I was successful in the preliminary  interview and was then invited to attend for Apptitude testing. This took a full day, and involved a number of apptitude tests including numerical tests, mechanical reasoning and verbal reasoning.

I was notified that I was successful in the apptitude tests and was called to the final interview stage. This includes a final interview, hand-eye co-ordination tests and a psychological evaluation. This also takes a full day and took place in PARC Aviation, Swords, Co.Dublin. It is from this stage that the final Air Corps candidates are chosen.

I was chosen in my year to be one of four cadets to be taken in. (Classes have normally between 5-10 people) I was notified on the day the CAO offers came out of my success in the process and I accepted my place. I was then called for a Medical evaluation at the end of August and started my training at the end of September.

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