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Features / January 8, 2024

Shaping smiles and careers

by Helen Farelly

dental careers

Helen Farrelly O’Connor shares the story behind Ireland’s new recruitment breakthrough helping to shape dental careers.

Career Vision was the brainchild of my husband Stuart who, following many years in hotels as a general manager, took a chance in 2019 to open/start our own Irish owned hospitality recruitment agency. It was a big risk and undertaking. 

We wanted the company name to have a meaning. The idea for it came one night while we were brainstorming over a glass of wine. We were throwing around lots of ideas using acronyms to do with recruitment, so we teased out CV and came up with ‘your career and our vision’ – hence Career Vision Recruiters was born. 

With the wonderful support network of family and friends, we opened our first office in Naas town, Kildare in September 2019. Then, as we were about to open our second office in Limerick in March 2020, the pandemic hit Ireland, and put a hold to this temporarily. 

The sector was badly hit with the opening and closing of hospitality. But, as a SME, that did not deter us, we kept moving forward and opened the second office in March 2021. Thankfully, the business has grown from strength to strength. 

About Helen

Having worked in Dublin Dental University Hospital, I took on the post of dental nurse tutor in 2002 where I was course director for the diploma in dental nursing programme, and in 2015 the post qualification certificate in dental radiography programme. In this role I was responsible for teaching, the development, growth management, delivery, execution and quality assurance of these programmes and maintaining high standards over a 20-year career.

I was involved and dedicated in the education of a range of undergraduate student disciplines including dental nursing, dental hygiene, dental technology, dental science, and orthodontic therapy. I consistently delivered confident qualified skilled dental nurses with theoretical and practical clinical experience ready and transferable into the public and private dental sector therefore ensuring they had the skill set to meet the workforce needs – work readiness.

Also, I had a network of dental practitioners and principal dental surgeons who relied on my high calibre of graduates for employment. Over my career, I’ve trained more than 1,000 students into qualified, caring, registerable dental healthcare professionals.

I have always believed in, inspired and encouraged dental nurses to extend their knowledge through participation of further studies in post qualification courses, continuing professional development and lifelong learning for career prospects, planning, job satisfaction and mapping/career advancement and opportunities.

I’ve also held various position on the executive committee of Irish Dental Nurses Association (membership secretary, secretary, treasurer CDP education officer and in my final year was elected president). Between 2006 and 2011, I was dental nurses’ representative on the Dental Council auxiliaries dental workers committee.

I was also external examiner at (AIT) Technological University of the Shannon: Athlone Campus and Marino College of Further Education and consulted on the development of the new traineeship in Dental Nursing QQI level 6 and innovative learner centred programme leading to Higher Certificate in Dental Nursing. 

I believe that is my knowledge of this evolving industry and my drive and history will make Career Vision Recruiters Dental excel in this field. 

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