Excellent links combined with excellent practical experience complimented academic learning at WIT
Time at WIT. 2011 - 2014
Why did you choose to study at WIT? WIT has excellent links with Teagasc which meant there was excellent practical experience gained at Kildalton College to compliment the academic learning at WIT. The access to Kildalton's horticultural facilities was a big attraction.
What was your experience? I found the teaching staff to be knowledgeable, approachable and made learning both enjoyable and attainable. The course work was relevant to the industry and I was able to learn and practice many skills I could later really benefit from.
I would definitely recommend studying Horticulture at WIT. It gives you the knowledge, skills and most importantly the confidence to work in the horticultural industry.
What advice would you give to students considering your course? Make the most of you projects and put real effort into them. They will stand to you when you graduate and can use them to further your career, especially if you lack experience in the field you are looking to advance in.
If your course included a work placement, what was it like and how has it been of benefit? The work experience really stood to me. Being able to include it on my CV was of real benefit and the experience gained gave me the confidence to know that I had chosen the right field of study and was more than capable for the jobs I was to later apply for.
What did you do before studying at WIT? I was a portraiture photographer. While I enjoyed photography (and still do) I wanted a change to work in a practical field, preferably outdoors.
Had you any feelings of doubt about returning to education? Breaking away from an industry that I knew to return to full time education as a mature student in an industry I knew very little of was a big step for me. It took me a number of years to make the decision but one I am very glad to have made. Concentrating on the outcomes was really important, focusing on what I could potentially do when I finished enabled me to make that big decision.
What advice would you have for students about getting through college? There will be challenges getting through college, and these will be different for every student. I think that all students should learn how to cope with stress and build resilience, and this is a real skill but also a very learnable skill that will make getting through college and life a lot more manageable, especially at the times when that seems hard or unlikely.
When and where was your first job after graduating? I went on to a Master’s programme with Teagasc/UCD. My first employment was with Teagasc as a technician which is my current role.
Where are you currently working? What position do you currently hold? I am currently a horticultural entomology technician working with the Horticultural Development Department at Teagasc in Dublin. I am involved with researching pests of horticultural crops in Ireland.
How has your studies at WIT helped you to get where you are today? The course at WIT allowed me to build up a knowledge base and skill set that I have been able to develop further. It set the foundation, allowing me to develop my skills as a researcher, entomologist and horticulturist.
How did your experience at WIT help get you to where you are now? The contacts that I made during work experience have been important and I been able to utilise them to further my career. Building up good contacts in any industry is always important and horticulture is no different, more than anything it gives you access to quality information and an ability to gain skills and benefit from those more experience than yourself.
You mentioned you completed a Masters after graduating from WIT. Following my degree at WIT I applied for Walsh fellowship with Teagasc. This was a funded program for research Masters. My research concentrated on commercial productions of Raspberries in Ireland as well as pests of soft fruit. My final year project in WIT concentrated on strawberries and I believe it was the strength of this project that gave me the upper edge in my interview and the awarding of the fellowship with Teagasc.
What is Waterford like as a city for college social life? Unfortunately as a mature student, my social life was already in a downward spiral, so this wasn't a major focus for me. My social life now consists of tending to my garden and veggies and enjoying quiet time with my wife.