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Career Clinic - Martin Malone - Week 6

Friday, 27 November 2009

Today we meet Martin Malone, 31, from Meath and find out how he got on with his day of work experience with our resident gardener Eugene Higgins.

Martin Malone
Martin is the second participant in our Career Clinic. He finished a building apprenticeship 9 years ago and has been working on and off as a bricklayer since school, his last job finished the 13th October. He is looking to maybe get into something in computers but has no real idea what to do. Likes computers, playing guitar, likes gardening. In the last Career Clinic segment with him, Martin did a career aptitude session with John Fitzgerald and decided to start his own business: Creative Gardens by Martin

James Mailley
James is the Managing Director of Monster Ireland. Based in Dublin, he is responsible for driving business growth in Ireland and ensuring that remains the industry's leading provider of online recruitment services and solutions. James is also responsible for sales strategy and implementation. James joined in 2003. Prior to this, he worked as a management consultant at TMP Worldwide and a recruitment consultant at Michael Page. James has a degree from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Career Clinic breakdown:

Week 1
On our first week we met our three Career Clinic participants, Eimear Farrell who was looking to move into PR, Martin Malone our brick layer who was looking to change career direction and Annmarie Wolohan who was aiming to re-enter work as an office manager.

Week 2
On our second week we re-visited Eimear and found out how she got on at her networking event, plus we found out some good news from her, she's managed to find a job in Geneva!

Week 3
Last week we found out how our unemployed bricklayer Martin Malone got on with our career direction expert John Fitzgerald as we try to find the best path for him to re-enter the workforce!

Week 4
Last week we caught up with our out of work office manager Annmarie Wolohan who had no formal qualifications in accounting. We set her up in a class in an IPASS course in Payroll in Plunkett College and got Annmarie back into the classroom! Just before her studio appearance, Annmarie got a job!

Week 5 ( LAST WEEK)
Last week we got a HR expert, Aoife Coonagh, to give you the dos and don'ts of CV writing!

Week 6 ( THIS WEEK)
This week we catch up with our unemployed bricklayer Martin as we find out how he got on doing a day's work experience gardening with Eugene Higgins!

Week 7 ( NEXT WEEK)
Martin will be getting a talk in business start-up with an expert!

James Martin - work experience

1. What are the Different Types of Work Experience available? Typically four:-

- Volunteer Work
- Internships
- Apprenticeships
- Unpaid Work Experience

2. What are the benefits of doing unpaid work experience?

- Improves Self Motivation and feeling of self worth
- Potential to improve skills and/or gain exposure in new industry
- Allows "taste" of discipline/industry before making contractual commitment
- Widens social network - more opportunity to uncover paid work options
- Genuinely give something to your community

3. Are there any pitfalls to unpaid work experience?

- Ensure organisation isn't taking advantage of your time and energies
- Check the organisation is legitimate
- Hours are sometimes evenings and weekend - remember impact on your partner/family if you are away from home

4. Does unpaid work experience or volunteering affect my social welfare benefits?

- Always check with your local benefits office before making commitment
- FAS sponsored schemes now in place (see below)

5. Are there any Government sponsored initiatives for work experience?

- The Work Placement Programme
- Recently updated to widen the pool of potential participants -

FAS - Work Placement Programme (WPP)

We would like to advise that the information on the Work Placement Programme has been updated and now can be viewed at

Based on customer feedback the Work Placement Programme (WPP) section of the FAS website has been given a new layout to improve ease of use.

Additional / Misc' Info:

Here is some more information on different types of work experience:


Ireland is fast becoming a highly sought after destination for internships. Participants come from all over the world to experience some of the best resources available in Europe. Students of all ages can experience all aspects of the culture Ireland has to offer while completing their internships. A combination of accommodation is available, from host families to hostels to sharing in apartments with other nationalities. Students come to Ireland anytime from 4 weeks up to a year. Student preferences are adhered to - usually getting their first choice in their chosen field: media, hotel reception, cooking, marketing, business etc. To get a full support system while they are here it is highly recommended that students make a reservation through a reliable company that specializes in placing participants in a host company that best matches their needs. In this way if there is a problem with the host company or the accommodation they can get help in acquiring another company or alternative accommodation straight away without delay. Most internships in Ireland are unpaid but the host company may provide a full travel card for the duration of the internship. Chefs normally get free accommodation if working for a hotel. A reasonable comprehension of English is essential when seeking internships in Ireland, some agencies will organize an intensive English language course from one to three weeks depending on the length of stay before the intern joins a host company.


Apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners a skill. Apprentices (or in early modern usage "prentices") or protégés build their careers from apprenticeships. Most of their training is done on the job while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade, in exchange for their continuing labour for an agreed period after they become skilled. Theoretical education may also be involved, informally via the workplace and/or by attending vocational schools while still being paid by the employer.

Volunteer work

People have become increasingly aware of volunteerism and its benefits to individuals and wider communities. This is a great way to build up skills and self-confidence and to open up doors to paid employment. Volunteering not only gives you potential to develop new skills, but also gives participants enormous "job" satisfaction and a feeling of self worth. This is crucial for many who have been out of work for some months. In addition, the fact that participants are mixing with new people widens their own networks - which in turn may give rise to paid work opportunities in the future. Social entrepreneurs such as Niall Mellon are now widely recognised in Ireland as well as thousands of programmes closer to home. Organisations which rely on volunteers include helping agencies, schools, hospitals and nursing homes, services for the disabled or elderly, student associations, community radio stations and environmental organisations. You should identify the type of experience you want to obtain, and the types of organisations that interest you.

The Samaritans are an organisation that rely on the generosity of the time volunteers give - they also provide excellent training. More information on the Dublin Samaritans can be found at with local offices in the phone book. Information on other such programmes is available on websites such as and

Unpaid Work Experience

Another way you can get some hands on experience in your chosen field is by doing unpaid work experience. Many degree programmes include a component of paid work experience. If your particular degree doesn't and you are keen to enhance your degree by working in a particular field, then unpaid work experience can be a great way to explore different options, to gain practical skills and to make valuable contacts for the future. If there is a company you would love to work in, but you're not sure how to get that foot in the door, offering to do some unpaid work may both impress the employer and allow you to decide whether it's what you'd like to do.
If they are too busy to talk to you, let them know that here's another set of hands that can help them out for free. Remember it is not how much you were paid that will impress a potential employer, it's the fact that you've gained relevant experience and shown the initiative and motivation to get involved. Volunteering and work experience also give you the chance to develop skills which are valuable to employers, your transferable skills which include things like leadership, communication, teamwork, interpersonal and problem solving skills. You can't rely on college to teach you these things.

FAS Work Placement Programme

The key changes relate to the eligibility criteria. For unemployed participants the following criteria have been amended:
. Recipients of most social welfare payments, including Job Seekers' Allowance and Job Seekers' Benefit, will now be eligible to apply. Unemployed graduates who are not receiving a social welfare payment will also now be eligible to apply.
. 2009 graduates are now also eligible to apply.
. The period, for which participants have to be in receipt of a social welfare payment in order to be eligible, has been reduced from 6 months to 3 months.
The key changes relating to the eligibility criteria of firms providing placements are:
. The Programme will be open to all sectors of the economy including, the private, public, and now the community and voluntary sectors. The Department of Finance will issue a Circular in the coming weeks on the operation of the programme in the public sector.
. The requirement for a firm to have at least 10 employees has been removed.
. Previously firms could only participate if they did not have redundancies in the previous 6 months. This constraint has been reduced to 3 months. However, the level of redundancies in the last three months were less than 5% of the workforce, these firms will be eligible to participate.
The duration of the work placement has been increased to a maximum of 9 months.