Reflective Journal on Work Experience Module

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ASSESSMENT TITLE : ANALYSIS OF VOCATIONAL AREA OF CHOICE – INFLUENCES & TRENDS – PO1 WORK EXPERIENCE MODULE As a part of my FETAC Level 5 Major Award (QQI) in Work Experience, I was required to do an assignment divided in 6 parts covering the Business and Office Administration sector by analysing the vocational area for the various influences and trends. PREFACE The purpose of this study is to get an overall view of the Office and Business Administration sector in Ireland. I have tried to get as much information possible in this sector, which continues to change and improve. Through this study I have tried to examine the sector and highlight the importance in broader terms.

I have briefly touched the public and private sectors in Ireland and studied the career opportunities available in business and office administration. I have also tried to study the job responsibilities and the skills and qualifications one needs to have to earn a respectable salary. Business and Office skills are required by every organisation. Schools, colleges, hospitals, government offices, private businesses, medical and legal firms are few to name. These skills help run the organisation efficiently and smoothly on day-to-day basis.

When choosing a career in any field, it is important to consider the specifics. What types of jobs are available, what are the qualifications needed for that particular position, what is the salary being offered, what responsibilities does the position expect to carry out.

QUESTION 1 Outline the range of career opportunities within your chosen workplace sector indicating the qualifications required at each level. INTRODUCTION As a part of my assignment I was required to research and study the different career opportunities and monetary growth available to a person with the right qualifications and skills in the Business and Office Administration sector. Public sector are organizations owned and operated by the government fall under this sector. For example county offices, health care centres, Garda and prison services, local and central government departments, fire service, defence, postal services, educational institutes, bus / dart / luas and many more. For a person to make a career in the public sector’s administrative department Clerical Officer (CO) is the first step of the ladder.

The next level is the Executive Officer (EO). Higher Executive Officer (HEO). Administrative Officers (AO) are the next in line. Assistant Principal (AP) Principal Secretary General Third Secretary or Junior Diplomat. Private sector are those organizations that are privately owned and not owned or run by the government belong to the private sector.

These usually include profit and non-profit corporations, partnerships, traders and charities. For example, retail stores, credit unions, and local businesses in the following sectors – agricultural, construction manufacturing, professional services – finance, medicine and law, transport, travel and hospitality, communications, other utilities such as gas, phone and mobile services, electricity. There are a number of positions one can apply to in the private sector. To name a few are Receptionist Help Desk / Call Centre / Support Staff or Customer Service Representative Accounts or Payroll Assistant Administrative Assistant Secretary – General Secretary, Medical Secretary, Legal Secretary Marketing Assistant Human Resource Assistant Personal Assistant Office Manager Administrator Supervisor Executive Assistant “” There are different levels that one can apply for – Entry Level, Middle Level and Higher Level.

Each level requires certain experience, skills and qualifications. The nature of work varies depending on the type and size of business and whether one works in the public sector or private sector. Salaries vary as per the job level. Certain criteria are taken into consideration when deciding the salary structure – skills and years of experience, educational qualification. Some Job Profiles Secretary as an essential member of any organisation handles all administrative and clerical duties and assists with the daily tasks, conducts research for long term projects, manages information and supervises other administrative employees.

Only a high school diploma or its equivalent is needed to qualify for the job; on-the-job training is common. Positions also exist at the executive level and in the legal and medical fields, which could then require specialized education and/or knowledge.

Proficiency in English and computers – word processing, excel, typing, filing is what makes a good secretary. Good communication and organisation skills are the main criteria. Starting salaries can range from €12,000 to €16,000 per year. Depending on the experience the salary can go up to 35K.

Receptionist being the first person that customers come in contact with, presents a first good impression about the company by greeting, welcoming, and directing the clients, suppliers and visitors appropriately; managing the front of an office and keeping desk tidy; handling phone calls, emails and mail. To work as a receptionist academic qualifications are not compulsory but GCSE in Maths and English is preferred. A professional approach and strong communication and customer service skills are needed. Starting from €12,000-15,000 per year and can increase up to €24,000 depending on the industry. The average pay for a Receptionist is €22,461 per year. Clerical Officer handles general clerical duties e.g. answering/making telephone calls, dealing with correspondence, filing, photocopying, reception desk, maintaining data using computer or manual systems, and other general office duties. Grade D (or a Pass), in Higher or Ordinary Level, in five subjects from the approved list of subjects in the Department of Education Established Leaving Certificate Examination or Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme or at least two years previous service in an office of Grade III, Grade II, Grade II typist or Grade I is all that is needed. Proficient in word processing skills – Word, Excel and PowerPoint, particularly in the area of speed, accuracy and presentation; verbal/written communication/interpersonal skills as well as excellent organisation skills; excellent knowledge of the Irish Legislation are asked for the position.

Salary is set in the civil service with he current scale starting at €20,859 and going to €33,078 (after 3 years on maximum), €37341 (after 6 years on maximum).

Human Resources Assistant is primarily responsible for maintaining employee records and documentation concerning grievances, terminations, absences and performance reports. Handle recruiting, hiring or training new employees, posting job openings, gathering information from applicants, verifying prior employment, contacting references and letting applicants know whether they got the job. As well as answering questions from employees or the public concerning the company is carried out.

With just a high school education a person can start a career in this field. Strong computer and interpersonal skills are also necessary.

On-the-job training is given.

Graduate entrants can start at €25,000 and rise to €40,000 per year with experience. The more the experience, the better the pay.

Senior personnel officers, especially in large organisations, earn considerably in excess of €100,000. Salary levels for HR officers vary considerably across sector. Salaries in large private companies tend to be higher than those for workers in local authorities. Marketing Assistant helps the Marketing Manager oversee the advertising, sales promotions, PR for the business.

Day-to-day administrative tasks, welcoming customers and preparing reports for the company along with market researching are handled. With emphasis on computer knowledge and the ability to multi-task any graduate can become a marketing assistant but marketing and business experience is an advantage. Good communication and organisational skills, good team player, are considered an asset. The salary range for a marketing assistant is from €19,000 to €35,000 per year. Accounts Assistant gives administrative support to accountants, undertaking clerical tasks such as typing, filing, making phone calls, handling mail and basic bookkeeping.ensuring all accounts including expenses and general ledges systems are under control and in perfect order.

Customer service and communication skills, and excellent attention to detail are very essential. Knowledge of low-level accountancy and basic skills in book-keeping are preferable, prior to beginning the job. Experience of office-based computer systems and software is usually necessary. One must be qualified having accounting experience, if possible.

A qualification relevant to accountancy would be ideal, though in-house training is often available to those working as accounts assistants. Degrees (bachelors or masters) in accounting, finance, statistics, economics or maths would be desirable. The average pay usually is around €25,000 per year. CONCLUSION It is important to understand the difference between the private and public sector as privacy rights differ as per the legislation the organisation is governed under. Getting into Clerical and Administrative work requires strong written and spoken communication skills, together with computer skills, organisational and time management skills, and the ability to complete tasks to a high standard.

A large number of courses relevant to careers in Clerical and Administration are run in PLC and IT colleges throughout the country. Students through these courses gain experience in all aspects of the technology relevant to the smooth running of modern office environments.

Courses are usually one year in duration and are full-time with work experience a mandatory part of their study. These courses aim to equip their students with the necessary practical and computing skills and the knowledge necessary for the dynamic world of business. Courses would typically include subject areas such as IT skills (Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Database), Business Law, Book-keeping, Communications and Business Calculations. Advanced administration courses are also available for specific sector areas.

Because of the increasingly fast pace of business life today, all clerical staff must learn how to function efficiently under pressure, and in a multiplicity of ways, in a fast changing environment. The public who interact with the organisation can be very demanding. Front office staff must be able to deal with the public in a calm, but efficient, friendly manner. For this kind of career, you need to have good written and spoken English. It is becoming increasingly important to be reasonably proficient in at least one other European language.

Qualities such as good organisational skills, keyboard and computer skills, competence in managing office requirements, good communication skills, a pleasant manner and a neat and tidy appearance are also important.  

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Reflective Journal on Work Experience Module. (2017, Jun 26). Retrieved February 25, 2024 , from

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