There are few things that typify the student experience in Ireland quite like feeling broke. When you were in sixth year, weighing up what course you would commit the next few years of your life to studying, it felt like you were positively swamped with advice. Teachers; parents; careers guidance counselors and, lecturers at university open days would would all gladly pontificate about the academic side of college life, discussing the various course commitments that will be incumbent on you. What none of them will tell you by about the third week of your first term you will in all likelihood be so broke that you will be eating store-brand freeze-dried noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.
From spending money on accommodation, necessary course books, groceries, and nights out, it is nearly a requirement for the majority of students to lock-down some form of part-time job for the duration of their studies. But this can bring its own stress. The difficulty of balancing full-time education with a part-time job, and the demands this places on your time, can lead to the feeling that you are often compromising one at the expense of the other. As such, it's vital to find a part-time job that allows you as much working flexibility as possible. McDonald's offers this and then some.
Aside from there being dozens of McDonald's restaurants dotted around the country, meaning that no matter where you go to college you're almost certainly never going to be too far from one, they are looking to become perhaps the most student-friendly employers in Ireland. They are aware that students looking for part-time jobs aren't looking for their work to distract from their studies, rather that they're looking for a job that can work around their studies. As such when you apply for a part-time job in McDonald's they will ask you to provide the hours that you're able to work and strive to offer you shifts that fit around your schedule.
It is also a fantastic opportunity to gain real, valuable experience in a vibrant and friendly working environment. Regardless of what course you're studying or what career you've planned for yourself following college, working in McDonald's offers an excellent opportunity to develop many practical, universally applicable skills that you simply would never develop in secondary and third level education alone.
Ellen Caulfield, McDonald’s HR Manager commented that “With a focus on working in small-teams and an emphasis on dealing with customers, employees quickly develop a keen sense of confidence in dealing both with colleagues, and with the public." It's this kind of hands-on experience that so many employees find stands them in good stead during their time working in McDonald's and, indeed, in other aspects of their lives.
Speaking with CollegeTimes, Aaron, a current employee of McDonald's Bray, and a full-time student in Classics and Anthropolgy in Maynooth University, described how much his work in McDonald's has helped him develop as a person.
For me when I was coming in I wasn't as confident as I am now. Some people might say I wasn't much of a people person. But after a couple of months working away I started to get more confident talking to customers.
His managers recognised his development and Aaron is now training to become a Customer Experience Leader, a managerial role which focuses on interacting with customers and helping to ensure they have as positive an experience as possible. And that speaks to another benefit of working in McDonald's, promotion.
While they're under no illusions that the majority of students who take-up a part-time position in McDonald's may not stay for many years, there are significant opportunities for career advancement. Indeed, there are few other jobs where, like Aaron, within just a couple of years you can be promoted to a relatively senior role and develop invaluable managerial experience all while still a student. However, given how structured the career path within the company, it comes as no surprise that many people end up staying on a lot longer than they'd potentially at first imagined. Around 95% of current managerial positions within McDonald's restaurants have been filled through internal promotion.
Though aside from the ready possibility of promotion, fundamentally it seems the reason so many students enjoy working there and advancing within the company, is the emphasis placed on creating a positive working environment. When we asked Aaron what was perhaps the most surprising thing he found about life as a McDonald's employee he instantly replied, "How much fun it is."
From going into McDonald's stores, they're very busy. But when I was looking for a part-time job, I know a lot of people are just in it for a bit of money on the side, and I thought that would be the same for me and so I wasn't expecting that much from a job. But I actually just have fun and find myself enjoying coming in. Yeah, you can have a busy day and that can be kind of tough, but then you just go out afterwards and have fun with your co-workers, who become your friends very quickly.
While there are many reasons that people can look to find a part-time job during college, there are few places that offer such flexibility and most importantly, the opportunity to work somewhere that you know you will walk into with a smile on your face.
If you would like to consider working in McDonald's, you can apply here.