1.0 Introduction

This article provides an overview of the recruitment and selection process for Irish Army officer cadet apprentices wishing to join the Irish Defence Forces (IDF).

2.0 Eligibility Criteria

  • Be 18 years of age or over and under 26 years of age on the date mentioned in the notice for the current competition. Engineer candidates must possess a minimum of:
    • Grade C3 in Mathematics in a Higher Level paper; and
    • Grade D3 in the following Ordinary/Higher level subjects:
      • Irish or English.
      • Any four Matriculation subjects not already selected.
  • Engineer candidates must have successfully completed:
    • A Bachelor Degree programme at Level 8 of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) in either Engineering, Architecture, or other Building Construction related discipline, accredited by Engineers Ireland or other relevant professional body; or
    • A professional qualification equivalent to one of the foregoing awarded by the relevant professional body; or
    • Bachelor Degree programme at Level 8 together with a Level 9 qualification in a Construction Engineering, Building Services Technology, Environmental Science or Fire related discipline, GIS, Building Heritage Conservation or Energy Management.
  • Ordnance candidates must possess a minimum of:
    • Grade D3 in the following Ordinary/Higher level subjects:
      • Mathematics.
      • Irish or English.
      • Any four Matriculation subjects not already selected.
  • Ordnance candidates must have successfully completed one of the following Bachelor Degree programmes at Level 8, of the NFQ:
    • Bachelor of Science, Physics and/or Chemistry;
    • Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical or Electronic Engineering,
    • Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Engineering, Optical Electronics; or
    • Mech-Electronics.
    • Where a candidate has level 8 (or higher) NFQ qualification not specified above, they can submit suitable evidence for the Director of Ordnance’s determination.

3.0 Cadet Competition

The recruitment and selection process for Irish Army officer cadets is an annual event known as the Cadet Competition. Dates for competitions are advertised in national newspapers and the IDF website.

The process includes:

  • Online Application.
  • Psychometric Testing:
    • All candidates who meet the minimum eligibility criteria are invited to undergo an online psychometric test.
  • Assessment Centre:
    • Candidates who are successful at the psychometric testing are invited to attend an Assessment Centre at the Military College, Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC), Kildare.
    • The assessment centre consists of:
      • Defence Forces Induction Fitness Test (DFIFT):
        • Body composition (assessment of % body fat using body mass index (BMI) and skinfold caliper test (70mm for men and 80mm for women, compulsory for under 20s).
        • Local muscular endurance (press-ups and sit-ups to a time limit).
        • Aerobic capacity tested by running 2.4 km (1.5 miles) in under 11 minutes 40 seconds for men and 13 minutes and 10 seconds for women.
        • This is a pass/fail test, candidates who do not pass will not be allowed to continue in the competition.
      • Realistic Job Preview: Candidates will receive briefs from serving Officer Cadets and Junior Officers to give them an insight to military life.
      • Group Exercise: Candidates will have to participate in a group exercise where they will be assessed for leadership, teamwork and communication skills.
  • Interview.
    • Candidates who are invited to interview will be required to complete and sign a Garda Vetting Application Form regarding convictions.
    • Interviews take place at the DFTC.
    • It is competency-based and includes:
      • Planning and organising.
      • Decision-making and problem-solving.
      • Communication.
      • Leadership and supervising.
      • Personal motivation and discipline.
    • Passing the interview is not a guarantee of selection, with only the top scoring candidates moving to the next stage.
  • Medical Exam.
    • Successful candidates will attend a medical examination undertaken at St Bricin’s Military Hospital, Dublin.
  • Security Clearance:
    • In conjunction with the medical exam candidates will undergo security vetting by An Garda Siochana.

Candidates are placed in a competition’s order of merit, with only the top scoring candidates being offered an Army officer cadet apprenticeship.

4.0 Recruitment Statistics

In 2016, the Army recruited (or inducted) 73 cadets from a total applicant pool of “4,807” (DOD, 2016, p.39).

5.0 References

DOD (Department of Defence). (2016) Department of Defence and Defence Forces Annual Report 2016. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.military.ie/fileadmin/user_upload/images/Info_Centre/documents/Annual_Reports/Annual_Report_2016__English_.pdf. [Accessed: 08 January, 2019].