Work experience was invaluable to Eoin who calls on the skills picked up at Mount Juliet while now working on another private estate as head gardener
WIT graduate Eoin started on the BSc in Horticulture (Kildalton) in 2012 direct from secondary school – St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny – and progressed onto the BSc Land Management (Horticulture), graduating in 2016. He was based on the Cork Road Campus in Waterford and Kildalton College.
Why did you choose your course/ to study at WIT/ study in Waterford?
I chose to study at WIT because I have always had a huge interest in the horticultural sector and loved working outdoors in gardens and in my own polytunnels. The BSc in Horticulture really fitted my interests and that's why I chose the course. WIT has an excellent name and I knew choosing WIT would give me the platform to reach my potential and build a bright career for myself. The link with Kildalton College was another deciding factor as I knew I would have access to develop my practical skills using the facilities provided by Kildalton College. I wanted to leave college with a good understanding of the theory but I needed to have a good handle at the practical skills as I would need to use these every day.
What was your experience?
WIT has allowed me to invest in my future and pursue my dream job. I graduated from WIT skilled, knowledgeable and confident. The overall experience was great I made friends for life in college that all share similar interests to me. The practical side of the course was very enjoyable as we were shown how to operate a broad range of machinery, propagate our own plants and the correct procedures to take when pruning and maintaining a broad range of plants. When I graduated from WIT I had acquired an extensive knowledge of plant identification which is very important in my current employment.
Can you recall your feeling when finding out you were offered a place in WIT?
I was delighted to find out I had been offered a place on the course and was very excited about starting.
What advice would you give to students considering your course?
I would advise anybody with similar interests to myself to pursue a career in horticulture. It’s an active, hands on, outdoor job with a great job satisfaction and variety. If you like the outdoors and are willing to work in all weathers then it’s definitely the career path to go down. It is a very broad industry that covers many different areas but the best part is you are always learning new skills everyday.
If your course included a work placement, what was it like and how has it been of benefit?
I completed my work placement at Mount Juliet Estate as a craft gardener. I was fortunate to work under highly skilled gardeners which gave me the chance to expand my knowledge and develop new skills. Some of the gardeners were working there for over 30 years and it was fantastic to learn from them. To a skilled gardener pruning a rose is a simple task, but someone who doesn't know how to can cause damage. I learned first hand to carry out task such as this on a daily basis. I saw how the head gardener delegated to his team daily. This has aided me in my current employment as I now am the head gardener on a private estate in county Tipperary and I call on the skills I learned at Mount Juliet Estate every day.
When and where was your first job after graduating?
The Arboretum Garden Centre as a horticulturist
Where are you currently working?
I am currently working as the head gardener on a private estate in Co Tipperary
How has your studies at WIT helped you to get where you are today?
Without my qualification from WIT I wouldn’t have got any of the jobs I got after college. Horticulture graduates from WIT have a great name in the sector and are highly employable. WIT equips you with horticulture skills but they also equip you with a solid foundation of computer skills, small business enterprises and accounting which will aid anyone who is interested in setting up their own company. The education I got in WIT gave me the confidence to apply for jobs within the sector as I feel I graduated highly skilled and qualified.
What were you living arrangements at college?
I commuted from home.
What is Waterford like as a city for college social life?
Social life in Waterford city is unreal. The Dome always hold lots of different events.