Garda Recruitment in 2023

Garda Recruitment has been an area of much discussion in the last few years, highlighted again recently given the opening of the Garda recruitment drive in March 2023. There have been some changes to the process since 2020 and it is possible that further changes may be introduced to accommodate plans to increase the number of Gardai in the near future.  

Given the upward trend within Garda recruitment, it is important to re-examine the process for prospective applicants. This article will examine the current Garda Recruitment campaign, application requirements and stages of the process, highlighting trends and practical recommendations for prospective candidates. It will conclude with some of the prevailing benefits of choosing this as a career path. 

When is the next garda recruitment?

The most recent recruitment campaign for An Garda Siochana opened for application on the 24th March 2023, with the intention of recruiting 1000 new Gardai this year as part of the government’s commitment to building stronger, safer communities. The Garda Recruitment campaign is closing for applications as of the 14th April 2023. 

This Garda recruitment campaign has emphasized equality, diversity and inclusion within policing in Ireland. The measures taken to reflect this renewed focus are changes to the Garda uniform policy, representation from minority communities in An Garda Siochana, the creation of the Garda National Diversity Forum, and the establishment of an internship programme designed to promote a career in An Garda Siochana to socially excluded or marginalised groups. With this additional focus, there is a concerted effort to ensure that An Garda Siochana reflects the community it polices. 

The 2020 Garda Annual Report confirmed that 1135 recruits were appointed in 2019, an increase from 806 in 2015. The current recruitment campaign reflects this intention of increasing the number of Guards, from the current tranche of 200 trainees in Templemore to around 425 throughout 2023. It is worth noting that Budget 2023 has provided for the recruitment of up to 1000 new Gardai, which is estimated to bring the total number on the force up to 15,000. These figures demonstrate the movement toward a larger, visible and more representative police force in Ireland.  

Garda recruitment stages

At present, the recruitment process for An Garda Siochana consists of seven stages. These include;

  1. Application: Interested candidates first submit an application online, outlining their personal details, educational background and employment history, answering questions on their broader eligibility and suitability for the role. 
  2. Assessment: On satisfying the minimum eligibility criteria, candidates are invited to participate in an assessment designed to evaluate suitability for a career in policing. Testing may incorporate situational judgement, aptitude and analytical skills. 
  3. Interview: The candidates who are successful in the above stages of the recruitment process are invited to a competency-based interview to examine their personal qualities, skills and motivation for becoming a Garda. Candidates will be informed of the competencies being examined in advance of the interview. 
  4. Physical competence assessment: Candidates who satisfy the interview process are invited to undergo a physical competency test, which evaluates their overall fitness and ability to perform physical tasks characteristic of the role. 
  5. Medical Assessment: On satisfying the requirements of a physical competence exam, candidates undergo a medical examination to ensure the health and fitness standard for the role. 
  6. Background check: Candidates who proceed from the medical assessment stage of the process undergo a comprehensive background check, considering history with the criminal justice system, employment history and financial background. 
  7. Appointment Offer: Applicants who satisfy all stages of the process are offered a place in Templemore, the garda training college. 

It is important that applicants recognise that this is a competitive process with a high volume of applicants. The selection process is comprehensive, with candidates being required to satisfy several recruitment stages, which are designed to ensure that only applicants suitable for the role are chosen.

In providing practical recommendations for candidates approaching the Garda recruitment process, it is suggested that they review the eligibility criteria and ensure they meet the minimum requirements before applying. Each stage of the recruitment process will require preparation, particularly the assessment, physical competency and interview phases. This might include engaging with online aptitude preparation exams, increasing physical fitness, as well as development of candidates thinking around competency and motivation for the role. If you feel you need support with this, H-Training provide Career Coaching and Interview Coaching to assist candidates in succeeding within the Garda recruitment process. 

Garda recruitment requirements in 2023

The baseline requirements for application to the Garda Trainee Recruitment competition are as follows: 

  • Age: Prospective candidates need to be between the ages of eighteen to thirty-five at midnight on the closing date of the competition. 
  • Languages: Applicants must have a proven proficiency in English or Irish; a second language is no longer required.  
  • Education: A bachelor level degree is not required to enter An Garda Siochana. Prospective candidates must have  
  • Citizenship: Applicants must meet one of the following criteria- 
  1. be a national of an EU or EEA Member State.  
  2. pursuant to the operation of the International Protection Act 2015, be an individual whose presence in the State is grounded in a refugee declaration or subsidiary protection for the duration of the Garda recruit selection and admissions process. 
  3. have had one year’s continuous residence in the State and in the preceding eight years, spent a total of four years in the country. 

Candidates must be able to submit documentary evidence to demonstrate they meet the eligibility requirements. They must advise An Garda Siochana of any changes which may affect these conditions. More information can be found here

Benefits of being a Garda in Ireland

A Secure Career

One of the significant benefits to a career with An Garda Siochana is job security. Upon entry to the Garda training programme, Gardai are entitled to a benefits package which includes a public service pension, health insurance and holiday entitlements.  

A career as a Garda also offers a competitive salary, with recent changes to the Garda pay scale resulting in a base line salary of €41,704 after five years of service. Financial remuneration also exists in the form of allowances to members which can add another significant dimension to wages. More information on changes to the Garda pay scale can be found in here

A Dynamic workplace

There are many different roles within An Garda Síochana. If you are interested in the day-to-day of the streets and enjoy the adrenaline of this work, there is plenty of activity to keep you occupied. Alternatively, you may be more methodical and detail-oriented; perhaps you could pursue a career as a detective.  

Many individuals are interested in the potential for variety in their career. The training and professional development available to Gardaí is exceptional – firearms training, advanced high-speed vehicle pursuit, crowd control – there is a spectrum of options open to Gardai who are motivated to progress. They can also advance through the ranks and take on leadership roles. Many people enjoy the high energy nature of this work; they are often very physically capable individuals who are not afraid to get their hands dirty. If this interests you and you have a genuine desire for a career in the force, contact us today for interview preparation as the Garda Recruitment 2023 campaign is currently live. 

Meaningful Work

From our work in H-Training, we have observed that Covid-19 provided a space for people to reflect on their career. A broad range of people who were either able to work remotely or who were furloughed have expressed their frustration at not being able to help. There was a great sense of feeling disconnected for people who were not working on the front lines in the face of such a crisis. Many acted and changed careers to support during this time, while others remained in roles, compelled by the importance of what they do.  

It is also important to mention here that we have witnessed no small amount of burnout across the HSE and frontline services. The debt that this country owes its frontline workers is an enormous one. And they are still there working perhaps as hard as they ever have. The Gardaí were very much at the coal face of the crisis. They were present for the increase in domestic abuse cases and in enforcing public health measures, standing at checkpoints where they listened to the same half-wrought excuses’ day in and day out, often in the cold or rain. This was thankless but also very important work. 

Conclusion

This article has discussed the upward trend in Garda recruitment over the last few years. It has outlined the scope of the current Garda Recruitment campaign, discussing the eligibility requirements and application process. It has discussed the stages of the recruitment campaign, highlighting practical recommendations for prospective candidates. It has sketched out some of the overarching benefits of choosing this as a career path, from the nature of the role to the sense of duty it inspires in the members of An Garda Siochana. 

Need Preparation For A Garda Interview?

At H-Training we have a long history of career development with members of An Garda Siochana. When you work with H-Training you will have an individual coach who will work to highlight your strengths and manage your weaknesses. This process is not about us, it’s about you. With over 32 years of supporting the next generation of Guards, we have assisted a very broad range of ranks, from Assistant Commissioners to Chief Superintendent, Superintendent, Inspector, Sergeant and Garda. 

We have also delivered leadership training to many of these ranks and supported Detectives, members of the Armed response unit and a host of other administrative Gardaí including civilian staff. This positions us well to understand not only the culture within the Guards but how the key decision-makers think and how you can impress them.  If you are considering applying for the guards, or looking to progress your career in An Garda Siochana, we offer Career Coaching in Cork, Career coaching in Dublin and Interview Coaching to assist you make that next move. We also provide Career Guidance for Adults, Application Form Development and Emotional Intelligence Assessment services.  

Feel free to contact us discuss your career needs or if you need support in taking the next step, visit our book now page to see our availability. If you’re located at the other side of the recruiting desk, H-Training also offers comprehensive Interview Panel Training to assist you in finding the most suitable candidate for the role. 


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