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 Lynsey Gargan from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:

Lynsey Gargan

Manufacturing Engineer

STEPS

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Lynsey Gargan
With regard to education I say don't worry if you think you have the wrong subjects in school. I certainly didn't have the subjects you would typically expect.

There are a number of courses that cater to different backgrounds. The most important thing is to do your research. Go to open days, talk to the colleges and generally just find out what exactly you would be getting in to.

Don't just take for granted you know what a certain course or career is all about. Think about what you like to do, and not just necessarily in school, if you find yourself being curious about how things work or how thing are made, it's a good indication that you could like something like engineering.

One of the best things about engineering is that it really can be your passport to the world. There are great travel opportunities within the industry and chances to be involved in the next big thing.

Practically every man-made product around you came from a manufacturing plant, it's a huge industry with a lot of different avenues to take. Innovation is a really big part of what engineers do. The desire to be creative and improve production and processes is an important attribute for a manufacturing engineer.
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Enterprising
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Adult Learner

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Back to Education Allowance


If you are unemployed, parenting alone or have a disability and are getting certain payments from the Department of Social Protection, you may take part in a second-or third-level education course and get a Back to Education Allowance (BTEA).

If you want to do other types of courses not covered under the BTEA, for example, personal development courses or general training courses you may return to education under the Part-time Education option, the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) or the Education, Training and Development option.


In order to qualify for the BTEA scheme it is necessary for a person to be:

  • Attending a recognised course of study at second or third level study option
  • Attending a full-time day course of study in a recognised college
  • A specific age in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for a period of time
  • Must be in general commencing the first year of a course of study
  • Since 2016/17, BTEA is only paid for courses that start in Ireland or in Northern Ireland. You can be paid BTEA for a year abroad (for example, under the Erasmus scheme) if the year is an integral or mandatory part of your course. This must be verified by the Registrar or Admissions office of your college.
  • The course must be leading to a progression of qualifications: click here
For more information on the BTEA click here