A day in the life of a graduate distiller

Karen Cotter outlines her journey and experiences as part of the Jameson Graduate Distiller Programme.Karen Cotter


My name is Karen. I am currently working as a Graduate Distiller with Jameson.  I studied process & chemical engineering at UCC. During the third and fourth year of my course I had to do a 6 month placement. I was really lucky to get a placement at Midleton Distilleries in Cork. During this placement I gained insight into the production of whiskey from grain to glass. I also learned all about the heritage and history of whiskey production which triggered my decision to apply for the Jameson Distillery Graduate Programme.


The application for this graduate programme included an online and video application. The most difficult part about applying for this programme was making the application video. My advice for someone applying is to not let this stand in your way! Since I have joined the company I can now see why the video application is such an important part of the selection process. Not only is the company looking for someone with technical knowledge, they also want their graduates to have a personality and the confidence to engage with consumers and be comfortable speaking in public. After all my hard work I was delighted to be successful in my application for the Jameson Distillers Graduate Programme and I have never looked back.

Day to day life

I have been part of the Graduate Distiller programme for the past two years where, day to day, I worked primarily in the Batch Brewhouse, the Bond Area (where all of the whiskey is matured) and I also got my first experience of pot distillation, conducting whiskey tasting for consumers and giving site tours of the distillery to visitors. It’s so much fun giving the tours around the distillery and I have met a wide range of people from all over the world during my time with Jameson!

I found that through my time on the Graduate Distiller Programme, my public speaking and confidence improved dramatically. This came in handy last September when I had to give a speech at the opening of the Micro Distillery, which was attended by the Tánaiste. Something I did not expect to be doing two years after graduating from an engineering degree!


Towards the end of the Graduate Distillers Programme, I started looking at my job options. Luckily a position opened for a Micro Distiller with Jameson. This was a fantastic opportunity and all of my experience as part of the Graduate Distiller Programme helped me get the job! My main roles in this position involves me operating plant machinery, as well as interacting with customers and visitors.

If you like the sound of my life and the role I had as part of the Jameson Graduate Distillers Programme, you can still apply! Closing date is 1pm on Wednesday 25th November 2015.

For more information about careers advice check out the gradireland website.

Start planning your career with languages today!

Ireland’s only regional language careers event, the GRADchances Language Fair Cork, is only two days away. This event brings together some of Ireland’s largest and most influential language employers exhibiting. This event gives students and graduates the chance to meet these employers and see what opportunities are available to them.

Each of the exhibiting companies are actively recruiting students with languages including German, French, Portuguese, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Polish. With up to 110 jobs up for grabs, this is an event not to be missed! There will even be interviews conducted on the evening of the event, so come prepared!

GRADchances Language Fair Cork

When speaking about the event, Suzanne Reidy, HR Manager at GLG stated, ‘We are really excited to be attending this year’s GRADchances Language Fair Cork; GLG offers an exciting 6 month internship programme for recent graduates. This opportunity allows interns to work closely with business leaders that drive industry decisions globally. It also gives interns the chance to use their language skills’. GLG currently have exciting positions for students and graduates who speak French, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish and Russian.

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Get ahead of the competition with a second language

On Wednesday November 4th, gradireland and University College Cork are proud to present the second GRADchances Language Fair in Boole Basement, UCC. This event gives students the opportunity to speak to some of Ireland’s most influential graduate employers, who are currently recruiting students with languages.  Employers exhibiting on the day include Kerry Group, Jameson Distillery, Workday and Dawn Meats, to name just a few.

GRADchances Language Fair Cork

In an increasingly global and connected world, and with Ireland as one of the world’s most open economies, the ability to speak a foreign language is seen as a massive asset and could very much put you ahead of the competition for a graduate position.

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Broadening horizons: my experience as a gradireland brand ambassador

Work experience during college can be extremely beneficial to your CV and later career, but it’s important that you find the right role, that suits you and your abilities. You need to consider how much you can take on in addition to your studies, which should remain your priority, and also the likelihood of developing transferrable skills during your work experience.

Two of the key soft skills that graduates are found to lack, according to the gradireland Graduate Salary and Recruitment Trends Survey 2015, are communication skills and confidence. The right part-time job in college can help you develop these areas and also help set you apart from other graduates.

Gareth Reynolds, who worked as a gradireland Brand Ambassador while studying in NUI Galway, gives us an insight into his experience over the past two years.

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How to ‘follow up’ your careers fair contacts


gradireland graduate careers fair

Last week saw the biggest, busiest and brightest gradireland Graduate Careers Fair yet at the RDS, so if you made it down, thanks for helping make it such a great event! If you found it informative, inspiring and interesting you’re in good company, we’ve received plenty of positive feedback from employers, students and graduates.

So, if you met an employer, or employers, at the fair, what do you do next? How do you keep in touch, strike when the iron is still hot and make sure they know that their organisation is where you want to work? So should you call them, email them, stand outside their office (probably not a good idea this one), how exactly do you ‘follow up’ without seeming over-eager (or like a stalker)?

Following Up

Well the good news is that employers expect to be ‘followed up’. In fact, in most cases , they anticipate it. The difference is how you do it, as they will receive a great many phone calls, emails and possibly even people standing outside their offices! But they will disregard the vast majority of them. Think strategy, not tactics. The fair was last week so it’s about now that you should be getting in touch, if you haven’t already. Review the employers you talked to at the event, write down the details and at least one follow up action for each employer. It could be writing a short introductory email, along with your CV, or it could be that you need to research the company more before you make any speculative contact. Take the time to do this; it will pay off in the long run. If you have a personal contact (i.e. sarah@perfectemployer is better than hr@facelessfactory), use it. But remember, this person will be getting plenty of emails from people just like you. Be polite, be friendly, but keep it business-like. Imagine how many people he/she talked to that day, so your email will probably serve as a second introduction to yourself. Don’t presume the employer remembers any specifics about what was discussed, and use this opportunity to suggest, briefly, why their organisation is where you want to work.

An introduction like this is fine; “Thanks for taking the time to talk at the fair in the RDS last week, it was really interesting and made me realise that I’m really interested in a career with (name of employer). As I mentioned on the day, my degree focused on elements which I believe would make me suited for this role, such as….”. As with any job though, make sure you tailor your email for each employer. Don’t carpet-bomb every email address you got with the same letter, it’s a recipe for disaster! It doesn’t matter if you’ve already given the employer your CV at the fair, send it on again, highlighting where and why you believe it makes you a good candidate for an available position. End your correspondence with a suggestion of future contact, such as; “If it suits, I’ll give you a call next week to discuss?” Remember, be eager, but if you don’t hear back, wait, try and contain your frustration and remember that if you have a good CV for the role, have done your research properly and there is a role available, the recruiter will be likely be in touch, whether you are ultimately  successful or not.

Using social media 

Social media affords an easy way of building a professional relationship with employers. But be careful, on two fronts. Firstly, as we have written about before, make sure your social media presence is something that you would be happy for employers to see, and that includes all platforms, not just LinkedIn. Also, LinkedIn is great for research, but don’t try and connect with potential employers in advance of an interview or just after writing to them, it’s not good etiquette and will likely seem far too forward.

No matter the format you use for getting in touch, remember the basics; manners. Thank people for their time, be grateful for their advice and always be respectful. If you do this, invest in your research and be creatively persistent in your approach, your careers fair ‘follow up’ could be very successful indeed.

To hear some of the optimism and opinions on the day, listen to this excellent report by Cian McCormack of RTE. For more advice on how to get your application right, visit gradireland.

Not in Final Year? Why you should attend the Graduate Careers Fair…

It’s very common for students who are not yet in final year to be indecisive about attending the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as to whether you should attend Ireland’s Largest Graduate Careers Event;

Do I know what Career Path I would like to pursue?

This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest decision you will have to make before leaving college. There is so much to take into account including the area you would like to work in, job prospects, the companies that are recruiting in your field, the locations of these companies and salary expectations. It is very difficult to find credible answers to these questions without speaking to the employers in person.

Over 100 employers are attending this year’s Graduate Career Fair in over 20 different sectors with headquarters all around Ireland and Europe. This is the ultimate opportunity to meet these employers and ask them the essential questions you need to know for your future career decisions.

What do I need to get a job?

Putting together the documentation required to get your dream job can be very daunting. Every employer has different criteria they look for when recruiting graduates, this requires tailoring your CV and cover Letter to each job you may apply to. CV Clinics are being held at the Graduate Career Fair with experts from Careers Services throughout Ireland. These experts will provide you with the advice you need to get that dream job! Keep in mind that many Graduate Programmes open for applications in September each year, meeting these CV Experts could put you ahead of the competition for next year’s applications.

Am I interested in doing an internship?

Internships are amazing opportunities to gain essential experience into a particular job or companies culture. Employers also take this essential experience into account when recruiting graduates, giving your CV the edge to get the job. Many of the employers attending the Graduate Careers Fair recruit students for internships and work placements. This is a great opportunity to network with these employers to see what internship opportunities they may have.

Am I thinking of doing a Postgraduate Course,  in Ireland, the UK or beyond?

Finding the perfect postgraduate course to suit you is really important, whether in Ireland or the UK.  gradireland are hosting a couple of seminars  with industry experts at this year’s Graduate Careers Fair to discuss Postgraduate Studies. There are also a number of exhibitors attending on the day, offering a wide range of postgraduate options.

The Graduate Careers Fairs has something for everyone, whether final year or first year. Register for free entry today at www.graduatecareersfair.com

How to make the most out of the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair

Careers Fairs are an amazing opportunity for students and young professionals to get the ‘inside scoop’ of a company, the opportunities they have available for graduates, the sectors in which they are interested in hiring as well as a view to working life within the company.

Preparation is key when it comes to career fairs! Here are some helpful tips for the day of the fair.

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