Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elva Bannon from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

Elva Bannon

Mechatronic Engineer

Smart Futures

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Elva Bannon

I found having education in a number of different areas of engineering to be beneficial to the work I am doing.

There is a whole world of possibilities out there for engineers, and it is difficult to know what subjects are necessary for the industry you will end up in. I was always interested in robotics and environmental issues, but it was not until my Masters that I really knew what I wanted to do.

General entry courses are quite useful, as you get a taste for a few different areas before you have to specialise, a lot of companies offer on the job training, and there is also the possibility of further study.

An engineering qualification teaches you so much more than just the technical subjects, but a way of looking at the world and solving problems in a logical and systematic way.

Engineers are sought after for these skills as much as the technical ones, and it opens up incredible opportunities. Engineering is not an easy route through college, but it is incredibly rewarding.

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Realist?
Realist
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Adult Learner

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Further Education - (2 & 3)


Courses in Ed Zone 2 include the Leaving Certificate and many one-year PLC and FETCH courses.

Note: some PLC colleges also offer two-year programes (Advanced Certificates: Level 6) which also fall into the Ed Zone 3 category.

PLC & FetchCourses

PLC courses are run around the country and provide an excellent opportunity to study an area of interest, for either the fun of learning, or to gain an award that can be later used to access employment or a third level education. Most PLC courses are QQI accredited, though some are not. Those that are not may be accredited by a internationally recognised UK body (e.g. City & Guilds, ITEC etc.).

Notes:

  • Most PLC courses lead to a QQI Level 5 Certificate and last one year.
  • Competition for places is competitive.
  • Entry requirements are usually a pass Leaving Cert or QQI equivalent qualification and normally be subject to an interview.
  • Many courses allow progression into a second year in the same college.
  • Some PLC courses lead to a QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate or equivalent, and last 2 years.
  • Most PLC courses can be used to enter Third Level courses using what is known as Progression RoutesNote: If the course that interests you offers or accepts progression pathways to level 6, 7 and 8 courses this green link   will appear beside the course information.
Go to PLC Search Wizard hereSearch for PLC Courses here.

FetchCourses.ie is a course search for Further Education & Training in Ireland.

Leaving Certificate

Many adult learners decide to do the leaving certificate, particularly if they did not get an opportunity when they were younger and use it as pathway to returning to education.

If you want to do the Leaving Certificate, you should contact your local ETB (Education and Training Board) and ask for information. 

Find your local ETB

Repeat Leaving Certificate

Education and Training Boards offer repeat Leaving Certificate courses in a number of colleges throughout the country. Alternatively a number of private colleges offer repeat Leaving Certificate courses. The good news is that repeat classes tend to be small, which allows for individual attention and there is a big focus on study skills.

Enrolment and advice on subject choices normally takes place from the beginning of August to mid September each year, depending on the college.

The cost of doing a repeat Leaving Certificate varies. ETB colleges (formerly VECs) are the less expensive option, however students are advised to check with their local ETB to see what exact costs are involved. If you choose to repeat it with a private college the cost is considerably higher.

You should contact your local Adult Education Guidance Service (AEGI) based in the ETB if you are thinking of repeating your Leaving Certificate. 

To find contacts for your local Adult Guidance Initiative or ETB visit OneStepUp.ie