Special Report
A special report is content that is edited and produced by the special reports unit within The Irish Times Content Studio. It is supported by advertisers who may contribute to the report but do not have editorial control.

Cool jobs: Think outside the box with your job search

From Army cadet to chocolatier – ditch the office and try something different

Not all jobs are equally cool. Here are 10 to get you thinking outside the cubicle.

Cheers to that

Forget the milk round and opt for the whiskey round instead with a brand ambassador role with the Jameson International Graduate Programme. From Bangkok to Panama, there are 60 such ambassadors in more than 40 markets. Applications are open for the next intake to Irish Distillers' version of the diplomatic corps, closing in February 2021. The 13-month role gives graduates the opportunity to go abroad and build brand awareness for Jameson with consumers, bartenders and influencers, gaining experience in fields such as marketing, sales, event management and content creation. Successful candidates come from a variety of academic backgrounds but need to be self-starters, creative and entrepreneurial.

Park life

Explore your wild side with a job with the National Parks and Wildlife Service. A conservation ranger’s role is to protect ecosystems and to maintain and enhance populations of flora and fauna in Ireland. Amazingly, Ireland is home to 28 species of land mammal, 400 species of birds, more than 4,000 plant species and more than 12,000 species of insect. If they are all to survive, someone has to make sure they have enough suitable areas in which to flourish.

Officers not offices

See yourself as officer class? If you relish the prospect of a job that comes with mental and physical challenges and are prepared to direct and motivate frontline troops, leading from the front in all situations, then Army officer cadet training could be right for you. It’s open to those aged 18-26 and involves 17 months of training in military college, covering basic and practical soldier skills as well as military fields of study. After completing officer training, cadets are commissioned into a service corp: infantry, artillery, cavalry, transport or communications information systems.



If you're more of a chocolate cream soldier who'd prefer to marshal marshmallows rather than troops, what could be better than becoming a chocolatier? Globally, the chocolate market is growing at about 5 per cent a year and almost double that at the premium end. Learn to temper with the best of them with the Introduction to Chocolate Making course at the Chocolate Garden of Ireland in Tullow, Co Carlow. Covid-19 restrictions-permitting, you'll learn how to make ganache, how to pipe chocolate, make moulded chocolates, rolled chocolates and hollow figures. Ireland has a number of top-notch chocolate companies including Lir, Butlers and Lily O'Briens. A little practical skill could be your golden ticket into the industry.

Horse whisperers

You wouldn’t know it from cowboy movies but the hardest part of equestrianism is figuring out why the horse is doing what it’s doing and not what you want them to do. It’s a perennial puzzle that horse owners will pay good money to figure out. Enter the horse whisperer. Kildare’s Sarah Brady is one of Ireland’s only certified Parelli Natural Horsemanship instructors, named after a famous American horse trainer. Sarah’s programmes help you develop communication through “understanding and psychology rather than force, fear and intimidation”. Not only can she and her husband Chris – also a Parelli practitioner – get you started on your new career but she says, “the more the merrier”.

Reach for the stars

For an out-of-this-world career how about hitching a ride on Nasa’s new astronaut programme, Artemis? Named after the Greek goddess of the hunt and the moon, it marks the US government’s determination to put US astronauts into space aboard US rockets, launched from US soil; aka no more piggy-backing on the Russians. You have to be a US citizen to apply and be prepared for the fact that the moon is only a staging post, the real destination is Mars. There are currently just 48 astronauts in Nasa’s active astronaut core and more will be needed to “propel exploration forwards as part of Artemis missions and beyond,” says Nasa.


If you're looking to jump on a tech wave that guarantees you a skill likely to stay in hot demand, anything to do with blockchain is good. It's the name given to distributed ledger-type platforms that are set to disintermediate everything from property conveyancing to tracking money donated to charity. Irish company Verifish is already using blockchain technology to track sustainably sourced fish from the seabed to supermarket shelves. As with so much of the tech world, expect a skills gap to put a premium on pay.

Call the midwife

In the autumn, the Health Service Executive launched the Consider a Career in Midwifery campaign featuring Clare Kennedy, the Midwife of the Year, who summed up the job’s appeal perfectly: “I think it is a wonderful profession. I enjoy coming to work every morning and the personal satisfaction from knowing you have helped and supported a mum, a dad and a baby is second to none.” How cool is that?

Remote working

Last year a vacancy for the role of caretaker on the Great Blasket Island captured worldwide imagination, with thousands of applications received. This year take a different approach to enjoying island life allowing for some sunshine too with the Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay programme. It lets you live in the Caribbean for a year almost red-tape free as long as you work remotely for an international firm, don’t take a local job and don’t start a business while you’re there. Even students are welcome.

Like a boss

If the coolest job you can think of is being your own boss, look no further than your Local Enterprise Office. There are 31 around the country and each has a Start Your Own Business programme which, for a nominal fee, will cover everything from market research to finance and digital marketing, equipping you with the skills you need to take a good idea and turn it into a reality. Alternatively, it could help you see that your idea wasn’t so good after all, which is a positive result too – not least because your next one will likely be better.

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell is a contributor to The Irish Times