Army Engineer Graduate Programme

An Elite Leadership Programme for Engineers

The Army Engineer Graduate Programme is an elite leadership programme for engineers. It will transform your potential to: Lead Our Team; Make An Impact; Be The Difference.

Óglaigh na hÉireann is an organisation like no other in the state and we need the most talented people so that we may best serve the nation in an ever-evolving world.

We offer a unique opportunity to motivated, curious, and hardworking engineers who have a will to succeed. We’re not after superheroes, but if you have a sense of adventure, the confidence to collaborate, and an instinct to give more than you take you’ll fit right in. 

You’ll start your journey in The Cadet School, the best leadership school in the country.

It will be challenging but we know that with resolve and the support of your classmates, you will achieve your goals. If successful, you’ll be promoted, and we’ll continue to invest in you with further training, earning a Level 9 Masters before sending you to get practical leadership experience in your unit. The culmination of both of our efforts will see you leading engineer troops overseas, devising solutions in the most demanding circumstances; ultimately changing lives for  the better. 

That said, it’s not all work. You’ll have life changing experiences and make life-long friendships along the way, and you’ll always have the most interesting stories. 

In return for your commitment and determination we will support you and develop your talents to bring out your best as a person and as an engineer. This programe is the beginning of a journey that will take you to the highest levels whereever you decide to go. 

The Corps of Engineers

The Corps of Engineers is responsible for ensuring that the Defence Forces can live, manoeuver and operate wherever we may be deployed.

As a combat support corps, our troops are qualified soldiers, combat engineers, and technicians. In addition to all-arms capabilities we provide the essential specialist skills to:

• Build bridges

• Construct routes

• Clear obstacles

• Employ explosive demolitions

• Conduct high risk Engineer Specialist Search and Clearance

Both at home and overseas we construct fortifications and operational bases where we provide essential life support capabilities such power generation, potable water production and firefighting.

The Corps of Engineers is also responsible for the maintenance of the Defence Forces built infrastructure such as barracks, training areas, airfields, and naval installations. This includes:

• Overseeing maintenance staff

• Design tasks

• Contract and tender preparation

• Project management

• Acting as the client’s representative during ongoing projects

Lead our team

No other job will offer you the leadership skills or experience provided in the Defence Forces. 

Our engineer troops are trained soldiers and qualified technicians. Leading them in harsh environments and pressurised situations overseas is the biggest challenge we can set you. 

After 15 months of world-class leadership training in The Cadet School you’ll be well prepared to be responsible for 30 soldiers: harnessing their skills; developing their potential; inspiring them to overcome obstacles; and motivating them to accomplish the mission.

Make an impact

In Ireland, Engineer Officers ensure our personnel have modern and safe facilities to live, work, and train in. In an era of climate change we protect the homes, livelihoods and lives of our fellow citizens during blizzards, wildfires, and floods. 

When foreign leaders visit, our Search Teams sweep for IEDs and other threats. The life of a President and the reputation of our nation could literally be in your hands. 

Our experience of working in harsh environments and pressurised situations, devising solutions with limited time and resources mean that we have been among the first to deploy in the event of a humanitarian crisis or natural disaster. We have responded in the aftermath of earthquakes in Haiti, volcanos in the Congo, the tsunami in Banda Ache, supertyphoon Haiyain in the Philippines, refugees at the Turkish-Syrian border, and the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone.

Engineer Officers are key members of Ireland’s negotiating teams on arms control treaties in the UN. In particularly they were instrumental in Irelands effort’s to ban cluster munitions which was agreed in Dublin Diplomatic Conference in 2008.

Be the difference

Engineers make a difference every day. In the Defence Forces however, the Engineer Officer often IS the difference.

Success or failure, or even life or death, will be determined by your solutions, your decisions, and your judgement.

You could be assessing log bridges on long range patrols (LRPs) in the African jungle. Too gung-ho and the bridge could collapse, plunging the armoured personnel carrier (APC) and its occupants into the river below; overly cautious, and the patrol has to return to base and the mission fails.

You could be clearing villages and fields of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXOs) post conflict in the Middle East. Miss something and there may be civilian casualities; succeed and local people can return to their homes and resume their lives once more.

You could be providing potable water in the Saharan desert to support an Irish base. 

Fail and we have to withdraw giving armed militias free reign; succeed and our troops can survive hundreds of kilometers from the nearest town thereby protecting remote villages from attack.

What is the army engineer graduate programme?

The Army Engineer Graduate Programme is an elite leadership programme for engineers.

It will transform your potential to: Lead Our Team; Make An Impact; Be The Difference.

It is designed to last approximately five years (though you can leave at any time you choose) culminating with you leading engineer troops on an overseas deployment. Thereafter, you may continue serving in the Defence Forces or you can leave and capitalise on your superior leadership and technical skills in a civilian career.

The first phase of the programme is the Cadetship. Here you will undergo 15 months of world-class training in The Cadet School, the best leadership school in the country. This is your formative military training and will qualify you to command a platoon of 30 soldiers.

On successful completion of the Cadetship you will be commissioned as an officer and will commence your 15 month ‘Young Officer’s Course’ in the School of Military Engineering (SME) where you will earn a Level 9 Masters. This will qualify you in a wide range of military combat engineering skills such as field fortifications, obstacles, explosive demolitions, bridging, mine warfare, firefighting, specialist search and clearance, boating, water purification, power provision and more. You will also undergo a 3 month Maintenance Engineering Course where you will study contract and tender preparation, project management, health & safety, range design, energy management, fire engineering and procurement.

Thereafter you will go to your assigned units for a year, further developing the skills you’ve learnt in the SME and getting practical experience of leading engineer troops.

Finally, all this training and experience will culminate in  you deploying overseas in command of engineer troops as part of an Irish unit serving under a UN mandate. This starts with a 3-4 month intensive period of pre-deployment preparation and training known as ‘form-up’, followed by a six month deployment, and finishes with one months UN leave on your return. Overseas service promises to be the highlight of your time in the Defence Forces and the ultimate test for a young Engineer Officer.

What we offer you

If you’ve read this far you are probably not the type of person who is primarily motivated by money. However it is important to know you’ll be well compensated for your efforts. Service as an Engineer Officer offers a very competitive package with many benefits.1

Pay & Pension. During your 15 months initial training in The Cadet School you’ll earn approximately Ä19,000 p/a but this will quickly rise to approximately Ä50,000 p/a by your third year of service. You will also be a member of a public sector pension scheme.

Level 9 Masters. You’ll get paid while undergoing a cost-free Level 9 Masters.

Accommodation. You’re entitled to free meals and accommodation while in training during the Cadetship. Subsidised accommodation is available in barracks after commissioning.

Leave. 31 days Annual Leave with the ability to carry over up to 24 days.

Fitness Training. Free access to gyms, personal trainers, sports facilities, and adventure training. Keeping fit is part of your job and part of your working day.

Medical. Medical & dental cover provided.

Professional Fees & Chartership. Your professional membership subscription to Engineers Ireland will be paid. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities are ongoing to support you on your path to earning the professional title of Chartered Engineer.

This is in addition to:

• Unrivaled leadership & management experience

• Personal development

• Travel

• Working in diverse, cross-cultural and multi-cultural environments

• Working with international organisations and militaries

• Access to a network of veterans across a mulitude of industries and sectors

• Strong personal network

• Life-long friendships

How to apply1

The first step will be to complete the official electronic application form available at

Stage 1 – Online Psychometric Testing. Thereafter you will be asked to complete an unsupervised psychometric test online. 

Stage 2 – The Assessment Phase. 

If you meet the required standard you will be invited to attend Stage 2  in the Defence Forces Training Centre, Curragh, Co Kildare. This consists of:

• Physical Fitness Test

• Supervised online Psyhometric Test

• A Group Assessment

• Realistic Job Preview

Successful candidates at Stage 2 will be sent an Online Personality Questionaire to be completed before attending for interview:

Stage 3 – The Interview. 

This is a competency based interview where you will be assessed on the following areas:

• Planning & Organising

• Decision Making & Problem Solving

• Working with Others

• Communication

• Leadership & Supervising

• Personal Motivation & Discipline

• Resilence

• Information Handling

• Technical Aptitude

This is a highly competitive programme and places are limited.  To increase your chances, you can also apply for an Ordnance or Army Cadetship. Applicants can apply for all cadetships simultaneously

Full details of these competitions can be found on

1. All of these examples are illustrative only. Please see and ‘Terms and conditions and general information regarding officer cadetships in the defence forces 2020’ for full details.

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